Hilary Benn Portrait

Hilary Benn

Labour - Leeds Central

2 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Electric Aviation, Global Security and Non-Proliferation
1 Former APPG membership
Trade out of Poverty
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
27th Jan 2020 - 16th Jan 2021
Liaison Committee (Commons)
20th May 2020 - 15th Jan 2021
Liaison Committee Sub-committee on the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system
13th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Liaison Committee (Commons)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
12th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
12th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
19th Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Liaison Committee (Commons)
19th Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
19th Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Foreign Secretary
8th May 2015 - 26th Jun 2016
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
7th Oct 2011 - 8th May 2015
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
26th Jan 2011 - 7th Dec 2011
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
12th May 2010 - 8th Oct 2010
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
28th Jun 2007 - 6th May 2010
Secretary of State for International Development
6th Oct 2003 - 28th Jun 2007
Minister of State (Department for International Development)
13th May 2003 - 6th Oct 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)
29th May 2002 - 13th May 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development)
11th Jun 2001 - 28th May 2002
Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs
6th Dec 1999 - 1st Jun 2001
Environment Sub-committee
6th Dec 1999 - 1st Jun 2001


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
Speeches
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

I support this measure for the reason set out by the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member …

Written Answers
Thursday 25th November 2021
Dublin Regulations
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is holding discussions with the EU Commission on …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th July 2021
Unsafe cladding and building safety defects
That this House notes with concern the large number of people who, four years after the Grenfell Tower fire, are …
Bills
Wednesday 4th September 2019
European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019
A Bill to make further provision in connection with the period for negotiations for withdrawing from the European Union.
Tweets
Wednesday 24th November 2021
17:54
MP Financial Interests
Monday 12th July 2021
1. Employment and earnings
1 July 2021, received £200 from the BBC, Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA, for participation as a panel …
EDM signed
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
First anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia
That this House, noting the first anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia on 3 November 2021, deeply regrets the …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 2nd April 2019
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019
A Bill to make provision in connection with the period for negotiations for withdrawing from the European Union.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Hilary Benn has voted in 274 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Hilary Benn Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
(36 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(16 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(41 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Hilary Benn's debates

Leeds Central Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.


Latest EDMs signed by Hilary Benn

2nd November 2021
Hilary Benn signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 2nd November 2021

First anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia

Tabled by: Helen Hayes (Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood)
That this House, noting the first anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia on 3 November 2021, deeply regrets the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians as result of airstrikes, massacres and crop destruction, and the displacement of more than 2,000,000 people; deplores the horrific sexual violence to which …
41 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Scottish National Party: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
23rd September 2021
Hilary Benn signed this EDM on Monday 1st November 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
132 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 95
Scottish National Party: 13
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Hilary Benn's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Hilary Benn, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Hilary Benn has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Hilary Benn has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Hilary Benn


A Bill to make further provision in connection with the period for negotiations for withdrawing from the European Union.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 9th September 2019 and was enacted into law.


462 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
18 Other Department Questions
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2021 to Question 58300 on the Building Safety Fund, when he plans to publish the text of the funding agreement required by the Building Safety Fund.

We will publish the Grant Funding Agreement for the Building Safety Fund shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress is being made with the application to the Building Safety Fund in respect of X1 Aire, Cross Green Lane, Leeds, LS9 8BJ.

The Department has received a registration to the Building Safety Fund for the above building. The Department has recently received further information regarding the building. This is being reviewed by the DLUHC technical team for a determination on whether the building is eligible for funding.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress their registrations for the Building Safety Fund. Progress is communicated to registrants who we expect will ensure that their residents are kept fully informed.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether a building that has received funding from the Building Safety Fund can make a further application to that fund if additional information comes to light about other unsafe cladding, for example through a BS8414 test.

The requirements for Building Safety Fund eligibility, against which registrations are assessed, are set out in Prospectus Annex A: Technical Information of the Building Safety Fund Prospectus, available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund. If registrants feel that the original decision reached on their building needs to be reassessed in light of new information, an appeal form is available on the Building Safety Fund page on gov.uk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July 2021 to Question 35504 on Building Safety Fund: Leeds, what the public safety grounds are for not listing buildings with unsafe cladding asked for in that Question.

As set out in my answer to Question UIN 35504 on 22 July 2021, the position of the Government is not to reveal the identity of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding system. We need to be careful not to expose residents to greater risk on safety grounds such as from the risk of arson, and respect that some residents may prefer that their building with unsafe cladding is not publicly identified. However, we recognise that some buildings may have already been identified by others and are already in the public domain.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in how many cases have applications to the Building Safety Fund been approved to replace exterior zinc cladding attached to wooden battens.

I refer the Rt Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 64550 on 1 November 2021 and to the eligibility criteria for the Building Safety Fund. Building owners are made aware of why their building is ineligible when a decision is made.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the installation of sprinklers in a building over 18 metres in height is sufficient to give it a B1 or higher safety rating.

The Government has always been clear that a risk-based professional judgement should be made regarding the safety of a building's external wall system and would encourage building owners to consult a competent professional who will be able to advise.

A number of factors should be considered when considering the external walls of buildings such as building height, cavity barrier provision, ability to pass a large-scale test (i.e., BS 8414/BR135) and consideration of other fire safety measures such as sprinklers. We cannot comment on specific building situations, however we would always encourage those undertaking these assessments to use an approach proportionate to the level of risk in each building.

We are developing more risk-proportionate guidelines for fire risk assessors, including PAS 9980 and new statutory fire safety guidance.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether buildings with external zinc cladding attached to timber battens would qualify for an A1, A2, A3 or B1 fire safety rating.

The Government has always been clear that a risk-based professional judgement should be made regarding the safety of a building's external wall system and would encourage building owners to consult a competent professional who will be able to advise.

A number of factors should be considered when considering the external walls of buildings such as building height, cavity barrier provision, ability to pass a large-scale test (i.e., BS 8414/BR135) and consideration of other fire safety measures such as sprinklers. We cannot comment on specific building situations, however we would always encourage those undertaking these assessments to use an approach proportionate to the level of risk in each building.

We are developing more risk-proportionate guidelines for fire risk assessors, including PAS 9980 and new statutory fire safety guidance.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for what technical reason the Reinzink and Nedzinc wall systems on The Gateway building in central Leeds were rejected for funding from the Building Safety Fund.

Eligibility for the Building Safety Fund is determined in reference to the criteria listed in Prospectus Annex A: Technical Information of the Building Safety Fund Prospectus. It is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund These criteria, informed by a series of full-scale fire tests published by the DLUHC, are designed to find eligible the most unsafe forms of cladding system.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the replacement of (a) Reinzink and (b) Nedzinc wall systems is eligible for funding from the Building Safety Fund.

With reference to the Building Safety Fund eligibility criteria, as both Rheinzinc and Nedzinc cladding panels are non-combustible and have a classification of A1, they would need to be present in combination with combustible insulation that meets the eligibility criteria in order to be found eligible. More information on the eligibility criteria for the Building Safety Fund can be found in Prospectus Annex A: Technical Information of the Building Safety Fund Prospectus, available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has received a report from Homes England on the cladding problems at Trinity One, LS9; and when he plans to reach a decision on that building's bid to the Building Safety Fund.

The Department and its delivery partner Homes England are working with the representatives of the building owner of Trinity One to progress its application for the Building Safety Fund as soon as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many leaseholders have raised concerns about schedule 9 of the Building Safety Fund funding agreement; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has committed to publish the full Grant Funding Agreement for the Building Safety Fund. Schedule 9 is the Certificate of Compliance which applicants must sign at certain points of their remediation project to verify that it meets the Building Safety Fund technical and safety requirements. This will make sure that works are performed correctly and to required standards, so that leaseholders’ and residents’ homes are made safe. We are not aware of leaseholders raising concern about the Certificate of Compliance.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make available in the Library a copy of schedule 9 of the Funding Agreement of the Building Safety Fund.

The Department has committed to publish the full Grant Funding Agreement for the Building Safety Fund. Schedule 9 is the Certificate of Compliance which applicants must sign at certain points of their remediation project to verify that it meets the Building Safety Fund technical and safety requirements. This will make sure that works are performed correctly and to required standards, so that leaseholders’ and residents’ homes are made safe. We are not aware of leaseholders raising concern about the Certificate of Compliance.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether Cartier House, Leeds Dock, has been successful in its bid for funding from the Building Safety fund.

The Department and its delivery partner Homes England are working with the representatives of the building owner of Cartier House to assist in progressing its application for the Building Safety Fund.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on what date his Department sent a letter to the (a) owners and (b) managing agents of Merchants Quay, East Street, Leeds informing them of the outcome of their application to the Building Safety Fund.

The Department confirmed a successful Pre Tender Support Building Safety Fund application for Merchants Quay on 15 January 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for what reason Turner and Townsend have been appointed by Homes England to assist in the managing of unsafe cladding removal at Merchant's Quay, East Street, Leeds.

The Department has appointed consultants to provide additional expert construction consultation support to those who need assistance planning and undertaking remediation work under the Building Safety Fund.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he plans to reply to the letter from the Rt. hon. Member for Leeds Central of 15 January 2021 on his appearance before the Liaison Committee.

I sent a letter to the Chair of the Liaison Committee relating to my appearance before the Committee on 13 January 2021, including follow-up letters from members, on 1 February 2021. A copy is available on the Committee’s website.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his comments made on a visit to East Yorkshire on 6 July 2020, what procedures were being referred to in relation to care homes not following procedures during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Rt Hon Member to the answer I gave to the Leader of the Opposition on 8 July, Official Report, Cols 963 and 964.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the names of the companies contracted to work on the new press briefing room at 10 Downing Street.

The Government has established facilities within 9 Downing Street, rather than 10 Downing Street, which are being used for daily broadcasting by a number of news organisations, therefore I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 169917 on 22 March 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister will answer in the House on matters relating to the operation of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the EU-UK Partnership Council.

Further to the answer given to PQ138410 on 20 January, there have been no meetings of the Trade Partnership Council to date. It has however agreed by committee procedure, the extension of the provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.


From 1 March Lord Frost, as Cabinet Office minister, is the UK co-chair of the Partnership Council as of 1 March 2021, and is accountable for its overall operation. Departments will lead on the Trade and Cooperation Specialised Committees in their areas.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, who will represent the UK as Co-Chair on the UK-EU Partnership Council.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ138410 on 20 January 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question HL3246, what progress he has made in negotiations with the EU on future mobility arrangements.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 48438 on 2 June 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the UK is seeking to negotiate with the EU reciprocal visa free travel for the purposes of tourism after the transition period.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 48438 on 2 June 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to encourage civil society dialogue as set out in paragraph 125 of the Political Declaration agreed with the EU.

We want a relationship with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, and centred on free trade. We will have a relationship with our European friends inspired by our shared history and values.

The Political Declaration sets out the potential scope of the future relationship. This is now a matter for negotiations.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister has lead responsibility for negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given by the Leader of the House of Commons to PQs 11512, 11514, 11515 on 6 February 2020.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Licence Lite applications have been made in each year since 2009; and how many were awarded by Ofgem in each of those years.

Ofgem have provided the following information on the number of Licence Lite applications received each year since 2009, and how many were granted a licence.

Year

Number of Licence Lite Applications

Number of Licence Lite granted

2009 - 2015

0

0

2016

1

0

2017

2

3

2018

1

0

From 2019 to present, Ofgem have not received any applications for a Licence Lite.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the additional renewable electricity generating capacity required to support the estimated number of electric vehicles in (a) 2025, (b) 2030 and (c) 2035.

The Government works closely with National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) to ensure there is adequate capacity available to meet peak demand in a range of scenarios, now and in the future. Each year NGESO evaluate how much capacity will be necessary to meet demand in the years ahead and utilise this assessment to determine targets for the annual Capacity Market auctions. Auctions held to date have secured the majority of Great Britain’s capacity needs out to 2024/25.

The Government will take action so that, by 2035, all electricity will come from low carbon sources, subject to security of supply. This includes the Government’s commitment to deliver 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, alongside the expansion of other low-cost renewable technologies.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of fireworks and bonfires on the level of CO2 emissions in England around 5 November.

BEIS currently does not estimate the level of CO2 emissions produced by bonfires and fireworks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support people with paying their energy bills and insulating their homes during winter 2021.

The Energy Price Cap will protect millions of customers this winter. The Government also provides a range of support to low-income, fuel poor and vulnerable households including:

  • Warm Home Discount, providing eligible households with a one-off £140 discount on their energy bill for winter 2021 to 2022.
  • Winter Fuel Payment, £200 for households with a memberwho has reached State Pension age and is under age 80; or £300 for households with a memberaged 80 and over.
  • Cold Weather Payment, a £25 payment for vulnerable households on qualifying benefits when the weather is, or is expected to be, unusually cold.

The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out the actions we will be taking to reduce emissions from buildings in the near term, including £3.9 billion of new funding.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy that all energy suppliers must offer a no standing charge tariff to residential customers.

The setting of tariffs is a commercial decision for energy suppliers. Since 2016, suppliers have been able to offer a greater range of tariffs to accommodate different customer needs, including tariffs with a low or even zero standing charge.

The payment of a standing charge reflects the fixed costs of providing and maintaining supply, regardless of energy usage, including meter rental, meter readings, accounting and billing and maintenance of the energy network. Tariffs with a low or zero standing charge attract a much higher unit rate to ensure these fixed supply costs are met.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of policies put in place by UK businesses in respect of covid-19 secure working conditions for their staff operating overseas, including outsourced operations.

UK businesses operating overseas are required to follow the legal obligations and guidance set out by the government in the jurisdictions that the business is operating. We expect that UK businesses have and will continue to take steps to protect their employees and others from the risks of COVID-19, both at home and overseas.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the proposed fossil fuel development by Siccar in the Cambo area, in partnership with Shell, with the UK's climate change commitments.

Projections of future supply of oil and gas from the UK, as used by BEIS and the Climate Change Committee, factor in assumed production from fields that have been licensed to date (including Cambo).

All development proposals for oil and gas fields with existing licences are subject to a robust regulatory process before a decision on approval is made by the Oil and Gas Authority.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of small businesses fined by Companies House and HMRC during the covid-19 outbreak for late (a) filing and (b) payment; and if he will make a statement.

Companies House registers companies, not businesses. The information currently filed with Companies House does not allow it to determine company size. Therefore, it cannot determine the number of small companies that have been subject to a late filing penalty. However, the total number of Civil Penalties raised during the period 1st April 2020 to 31st May 2021 are 241,918.

In order to assist companies affected by the pandemic, measures were put in place by the Department, including allowing companies extra time to file accounts. Also, any appeal to the Registrar against paying a penalty on the grounds a company has been impacted by the pandemic immediately before the filing deadline are being treated sympathetically.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the planned timescale is for the Competition and Markets Authority to report on its investigation of the acquisition by Uber of GPC Software Ltd.

Competition investigations into mergers are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is an independent non-Ministerial department. On 29 January 2021, the CMA began a merger inquiry in relation to this transaction, which is being carried out independently. The CMA is working to a deadline of 29 March 2021 to complete its initial review. Following its initial review, the CMA can either clear the merger or launch an in-depth assessment of the competition issues. The CMA will publish on its website updates on its review of this merger.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations he has received on the effect of shortages of foam and particleboard on the UK furniture industry; and if he will make a statement.

The issue on the effect of shortages of foam and particleboard on the UK furniture industry has been raised with the Department through correspondence, as well as engagement with the UK furniture sector.

Various factors have contributed to a severe lack of raw materials for manufacturers, including successive storms in the Gulf of Mexico, annual turnarounds at chemical plants in Europe, and technical issues at another plant. This has subsequently impacted the cost of these materials.

The reported issues with the supply of some chemicals used in foam production is a commercial issue and likely a result of an increased global demand on these materials. We will continue to monitor the situation and engage with the furniture sector to gain a better understanding of the situation and its impact.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he was consulted on the recent decision by UK Research and Innovation not to extend the studentships of doctoral students affected by the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that the disruption of recent months has impacted the ability of doctoral students to undertake their research projects. This has led to students having to adjust their projects, making decisions around changing their approach, collecting different data, or changing the way they had planned to work with people, labs, archives or facilities.

As it is not possible for all students to adjust their projects and training plan in such a way, I announced in April that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded PhD students in the final year and whose studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic would be provided with additional support. Subsequently on the 11th November, UKRI provided a further £19.1 million of funding to support students in earlier years, including disabled students, those with long-term illness, those who are neurodivergent, or those with caring responsibilities.

Combined, these two interventions have meant that UKRI has made over £60 million of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic. It is estimated that this funding is available for up to 12,000 students.

UKRI as the national funding agency for research and innovation, has independence to deliver funding under the direction of BEIS ministers. BEIS and UKRI are continuing to assess the impact of Covid 19 across all the research and innovation they fund.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a person who has been informed by letter that they are clinically extremely vulnerable and should not go to work can be put on the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) continues to support businesses and individuals throughout the UK. Where employees are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable, they can be furloughed through the CJRS. As with the previous scheme, it is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the UK car industry of tariffs in the event that no agreement is reached in the current negotiations between the UK and the EU on the future relationship.

We are confident that we can reach a deal and will continue to work hard to reach an agreement with the EU for as long as there is a constructive process ongoing. The Political Declaration sets out our ambition for a zero tariff and zero quota Free Trade Agreement; reducing the costs and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK and the EU.

Extensive engagement has been taking place between the Government and the automotive sector on future trade negotiations. We shall continue to work with companies over the next few months to ensure that they are well prepared for the end of the transition period.

In addition, the Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK’s automotive sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has issued advice to energy companies on doorstep cold-calling during the covid-19 outbreak.

The energy regulator Ofgem has a duty to protect the interests of consumers.

Ofgem rules to protect consumers subject to doorstop sales activity, include requirements that companies and their representatives only recommend tariffs that are appropriate to a consumers circumstances and preferences and that a record of the information provided to a consumer is kept for two years.

In an open letter published on 16 June, Ofgem set out their expectation that face to face activities should be in line with Government Covid-19 guidelines.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason tanning salons are currently unable to open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are being eased; what assessment he has made of the risks of their opening; and what guidance he can provide on how to mitigate those risks.

On 23 June, the Government published guidance for close contact services, including tanning salons, on how they can reopen safely once they are able to do so.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services, such as reflexologists and tattoo parlours to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and making any changes to our approach depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has for the future of the Audio Content Fund.

No decision has yet been made on the future of the Audio Content Fund.

The Fund’s three year pilot phase is due to end in March 2022, and it will be important to carefully consider all available information on its impact on the provision and plurality of public service content on radio before any decision is made with regard to potential closure, continuation or extension.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will review the potential effect of the 2017 Electronic Communications Code on rents paid to landowners to allow mobile masts on their land.

Since the introduction of the reforms in 2017 we have continually listened to feedback from stakeholders on the impact those changes have had on the expansion and improvement of digital networks across the UK. The culmination of this process was a consultation on potential further reform to the Code, published in January 2021. The consultation closed in March 2021 and responses are being considered. The Government’s response will be published shortly.

The provisions concerning how rents are calculated were not part of that consultation. The 2017 reforms were intended to strike a balance between ensuring individual landowners do not incur any losses and enabling the deployment of digital networks more cost effective. It is the Government’s view that the cost of acquiring rights to install digital infrastructure prior to 2017 was too high and needed to be addressed. The pricing regime now in place is more closely aligned to those for utilities such as water and electricity and reflects the fact that access to good quality digital services is an increasingly critical part of daily life for residents across the UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has undertaken research into the incidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy among footballers.

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount. National Governing Bodies are responsible for the regulation of their sports and for ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect participants from harm, including serious injuries. With that in mind, we expect sports to do all they can to protect their players as a fundamental part of their duty of care.

The Government remains committed to working with sports to build on the positive work on concussion that is already taking place, including the use of research. To that end, the Secretary of State and I hosted two roundtables on concussion in sport earlier this year to understand the issues from the perspectives of players and to push the sports on what more they can be doing, including research.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to compensate people who have lost money as a result of the collapse of Football Index.

The Secretary of State has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the independent review of the Football Index gambling product and we have published its scope and terms of reference on gov.uk. This review is entirely separate from the ongoing administration proceedings, which are looking at assets and liabilities of the company and recompense to customers. As I said in my Written Ministerial Statement of 7 June, the independent review will be conducted and report in such a way as to avoid prejudicing that process and the Gambling Commission’s ongoing regulatory investigation. The statement can be found at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-06-07/hcws63

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to help ensure that the Honresfield Library remains in the UK.

The UK’s export-licensing procedures allow us to identify important items of cultural property of national significance which are in danger of being sold abroad and to consider whether an attempt should be made to keep them in the UK, whilst respecting the rights of owners.

An export licence is required for cultural goods manufactured or produced more than 50 years before the date of export and valued above certain thresholds (except in the case of documents and manuscripts where there is no minimum financial value).

If items at risk of export are considered by an expert adviser to be of outstanding importance they are referred to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. If the Committee decides that an object meets one or more criteria used to determine national importance, it may recommend that the Secretary of State defers the granting of an export licence in order to give a UK institution or collector the opportunity to acquire it.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to respond to the recommendations of the recent report of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group.

We welcome all contributions to the debate around gambling, including the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group’s recent report, and we are considering its findings and recommendations carefully. We also look forward to forthcoming reports from the Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, and the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into gambling regulation and problem gambling, to which we will formally respond.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect on UK musicians of leaving the transitional period without an agreement with the EU.

The UK’s creative industries deliver around 12 per cent of the UK’s total exports in services, and have grown rapidly in recent years. The government is committed to ensuring this growth continues.

DCMS has engaged extensively with union bodies, artists and cultural organisations to help understand the needs of the creative and cultural sector, including UK musicians who make up a significant proportion of people in these sectors. We understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as we leave the EU.

We want a relationship with the EU based on friendly cooperation, centred on free trade on the lines of the free trade agreement the EU has with Canada. On temporary entry for business purposes (mode 4), a reciprocal agreement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some paid business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis. The precise details, including range of activities, documentation needed, and the time limit, will be negotiated. We are confident that such an agreement based on friendly cooperation can be achieved. However, in the event that such a comprehensive free trade agreement cannot be agreed, the transition period will end and the UK will operate under the deal agreed with the EU in 2019 and an arrangement similar to that between Australia and the EU.

In all circumstances, we expect UK musicians’ work to continue to be an export that is highly valued in the EU as it is across the world.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether it is Government policy to seek to negotiate an agreement on multi-entry touring visas for UK musicians wishing to perform in the EU as part of the future partnership negotiations.

DCMS has engaged extensively with union bodies, companies, orchestras, individual musical practitioners and cultural organisations. We understand the importance of being able to tour. We recognise that this depends on musicians and crew being able to move quickly and easily between countries, taking necessary equipment with them.

We want a relationship with the EU based on friendly cooperation. On temporary entry for business purposes (mode 4), a reciprocal agreement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis. The same would apply for EU citizens making business visits to the UK. The precise details, including range of activities, documentation needed, and the time limit, will be negotiated.

21st Apr 2020
5G
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of masts that will be required to roll out 5G throughout the UK.

The Government is committed to establishing the UK as a global leader in 5G technology and ensuring that the majority of the population has access to a 5G signal by 2027. We have made good progress toward these aims, with 5G networks available in over 70 UK towns and cities and the investment of £200m in a 5G testbeds and trials programme.

5G deployment is still in its infancy and decisions on rollout and deployment remain a matter for the network operators themselves, based on need and demand for 5G services. It should be noted that in many cases 5G deployment will be delivered utilising masts that are currently used for the delivery of 4G services.

As roll out continues Government will continue to work with industry and stakeholders to support the timely and efficient rollout of 5G across the UK.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish High Needs Block funding per pupil for every local education authority in England in each of the last five years.

High needs funding is the money the department distributes, mainly to local authorities, for children and young people with the most complex needs. The department announced in summer 2021 that high needs funding will increase nationally by £780 million, or 9.6%, in 2022-23 compared to the 2021-22 financial year; this follows the increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs funding we allocate to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since 2019-20.

On top of this, the 2021 Spending Review settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the funding we previously announced. The department will confirm in due course how we will allocate this additional funding for 2022-23, and what local authorities’ high needs allocations for 2023-24 and 2024-25 will be.

The increase next year that we announced in the summer means that every local authority will attract an increase of at least 8% per head of 2-18 population, with some local authorities seeing increases of up to 11%. Leeds Council will be receiving a maximum increase of 11% per head on the amount of high needs funding allocated in the 2021-22 financial year. This amounts to a provisional high needs funding allocation of over £108 million in 2022-23, and that does not yet include an allocation of the additional funding the department has available from the 2021 Spending Review.

In setting the limit on gains, the department considers the distribution of funding across all local authorities, including how many are on the minimum percentage increase. This distribution balances improving fairness according to the high needs national funding formula (NFF), with ensuring that every local authority attracts a significant increase to help with the cost pressures they are facing. The table below shows the significant year-on-year increases that Leeds Council has been receiving since 2018-19 and the reducing impact of the limit on their NFF gains, as well as how the £20.8 million adds the differences each year between the provisional NFF allocations with and without the formula gains capped.

See note 1 below [1]

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

A. Limit (cap) on per head gains (year-on-year)

6%

17%

12%

11%

B. NFF provisional allocation before gains cap

£73.4m

£75.0m

£90.0m

£101.3m

£110.4m

C. NFF provisional allocation after gains cap

£66.3m

£69.8m

£85.3m

£97.4m

£108.5m

D. Difference between allocations with and without gains capped [2] (B-C)

£7.1m

£5.1m

£4.7m

£3.9m

£1.9m

Total difference between allocations with and without gains capped 2018-19 to 2020-21

= £20.8m

Notes to table:

  1. The high needs NFF provisional allocations shown in the table are to provide the explanation of the £20.8 million requested in Question 73735. They do not include additional funding that was made available to all local authorities in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and do not include any of the deductions for academies and colleges’ place funding, or other adjustments that are made in the final allocations of high needs funding to authorities.
  2. All the numbers have been rounded so the differences may not add up precisely.

Finally, the department are unable to publish the high needs block funding per pupil for every local authority in England in each of the last five years. This is because the department does not collect information on the number of pupils who attract to their school the different types of high needs funding, or the level of funding that an individual pupil attracts. In addition, there is a wide range of practice in the proportion of children awarded an Education, Health and Care Plan, for example, across different local authorities, which make such comparisons difficult. It is possible to make a range of other local authority comparisons using the data in the department’s published high needs benchmarking tool. That tool is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-benchmarking-tool.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will remove the cap on gains under the High Needs Block within the National Funding Formula.

High needs funding is the money the department distributes, mainly to local authorities, for children and young people with the most complex needs. The department announced in summer 2021 that high needs funding will increase nationally by £780 million, or 9.6%, in 2022-23 compared to the 2021-22 financial year; this follows the increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs funding we allocate to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since 2019-20.

On top of this, the 2021 Spending Review settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the funding we previously announced. The department will confirm in due course how we will allocate this additional funding for 2022-23, and what local authorities’ high needs allocations for 2023-24 and 2024-25 will be.

The increase next year that we announced in the summer means that every local authority will attract an increase of at least 8% per head of 2-18 population, with some local authorities seeing increases of up to 11%. Leeds Council will be receiving a maximum increase of 11% per head on the amount of high needs funding allocated in the 2021-22 financial year. This amounts to a provisional high needs funding allocation of over £108 million in 2022-23, and that does not yet include an allocation of the additional funding the department has available from the 2021 Spending Review.

In setting the limit on gains, the department considers the distribution of funding across all local authorities, including how many are on the minimum percentage increase. This distribution balances improving fairness according to the high needs national funding formula (NFF), with ensuring that every local authority attracts a significant increase to help with the cost pressures they are facing. The table below shows the significant year-on-year increases that Leeds Council has been receiving since 2018-19 and the reducing impact of the limit on their NFF gains, as well as how the £20.8 million adds the differences each year between the provisional NFF allocations with and without the formula gains capped.

See note 1 below [1]

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

A. Limit (cap) on per head gains (year-on-year)

6%

17%

12%

11%

B. NFF provisional allocation before gains cap

£73.4m

£75.0m

£90.0m

£101.3m

£110.4m

C. NFF provisional allocation after gains cap

£66.3m

£69.8m

£85.3m

£97.4m

£108.5m

D. Difference between allocations with and without gains capped [2] (B-C)

£7.1m

£5.1m

£4.7m

£3.9m

£1.9m

Total difference between allocations with and without gains capped 2018-19 to 2020-21

= £20.8m

Notes to table:

  1. The high needs NFF provisional allocations shown in the table are to provide the explanation of the £20.8 million requested in Question 73735. They do not include additional funding that was made available to all local authorities in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and do not include any of the deductions for academies and colleges’ place funding, or other adjustments that are made in the final allocations of high needs funding to authorities.
  2. All the numbers have been rounded so the differences may not add up precisely.

Finally, the department are unable to publish the high needs block funding per pupil for every local authority in England in each of the last five years. This is because the department does not collect information on the number of pupils who attract to their school the different types of high needs funding, or the level of funding that an individual pupil attracts. In addition, there is a wide range of practice in the proportion of children awarded an Education, Health and Care Plan, for example, across different local authorities, which make such comparisons difficult. It is possible to make a range of other local authority comparisons using the data in the department’s published high needs benchmarking tool. That tool is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-benchmarking-tool.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason Leeds local authority received £20.8 million less for High Needs between 2018-19 and 2021-22 than indicated by the National Funding Formula.

High needs funding is the money the department distributes, mainly to local authorities, for children and young people with the most complex needs. The department announced in summer 2021 that high needs funding will increase nationally by £780 million, or 9.6%, in 2022-23 compared to the 2021-22 financial year; this follows the increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs funding we allocate to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since 2019-20.

On top of this, the 2021 Spending Review settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the funding we previously announced. The department will confirm in due course how we will allocate this additional funding for 2022-23, and what local authorities’ high needs allocations for 2023-24 and 2024-25 will be.

The increase next year that we announced in the summer means that every local authority will attract an increase of at least 8% per head of 2-18 population, with some local authorities seeing increases of up to 11%. Leeds Council will be receiving a maximum increase of 11% per head on the amount of high needs funding allocated in the 2021-22 financial year. This amounts to a provisional high needs funding allocation of over £108 million in 2022-23, and that does not yet include an allocation of the additional funding the department has available from the 2021 Spending Review.

In setting the limit on gains, the department considers the distribution of funding across all local authorities, including how many are on the minimum percentage increase. This distribution balances improving fairness according to the high needs national funding formula (NFF), with ensuring that every local authority attracts a significant increase to help with the cost pressures they are facing. The table below shows the significant year-on-year increases that Leeds Council has been receiving since 2018-19 and the reducing impact of the limit on their NFF gains, as well as how the £20.8 million adds the differences each year between the provisional NFF allocations with and without the formula gains capped.

See note 1 below [1]

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

A. Limit (cap) on per head gains (year-on-year)

6%

17%

12%

11%

B. NFF provisional allocation before gains cap

£73.4m

£75.0m

£90.0m

£101.3m

£110.4m

C. NFF provisional allocation after gains cap

£66.3m

£69.8m

£85.3m

£97.4m

£108.5m

D. Difference between allocations with and without gains capped [2] (B-C)

£7.1m

£5.1m

£4.7m

£3.9m

£1.9m

Total difference between allocations with and without gains capped 2018-19 to 2020-21

= £20.8m

Notes to table:

  1. The high needs NFF provisional allocations shown in the table are to provide the explanation of the £20.8 million requested in Question 73735. They do not include additional funding that was made available to all local authorities in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and do not include any of the deductions for academies and colleges’ place funding, or other adjustments that are made in the final allocations of high needs funding to authorities.
  2. All the numbers have been rounded so the differences may not add up precisely.

Finally, the department are unable to publish the high needs block funding per pupil for every local authority in England in each of the last five years. This is because the department does not collect information on the number of pupils who attract to their school the different types of high needs funding, or the level of funding that an individual pupil attracts. In addition, there is a wide range of practice in the proportion of children awarded an Education, Health and Care Plan, for example, across different local authorities, which make such comparisons difficult. It is possible to make a range of other local authority comparisons using the data in the department’s published high needs benchmarking tool. That tool is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-benchmarking-tool.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice he received from Public Health England prior to his decision that from 17 May face coverings for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas will no longer be recommended.

Following the Step 3 announcement on 10 May, the Department published updated guidance for schools, which included updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, from 17 May face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas in schools. Face coverings are also no longer recommended for staff in classrooms. The Department recommends that in all schools face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

Ahead of Step 3, the Department worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) and the Cabinet Office to consider a range of evidence, balancing both health and educational considerations. This included the latest available education data, latest data analysis on case rates in secondary school age children and the broader COVID-19 epidemiological position, as well as stakeholder intelligence from schools and further education (FE) colleges on their experiences of wearing face coverings in classrooms and any perceived effect on teaching, education, and communication.

The epidemiological picture overall has continued to improve since the full reopening of schools and FE colleges on 8 March and cases overall have continued to decline in the UK. As the four tests have been met it was appropriate to remove the recommendation to wear face coverings in schools. This was supported by PHE.

The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission.

Where head teachers have concerns on the use of face coverings in response to a particular local outbreak or variant of concern, they should seek the advice of their local Director of Public Health who will advise on whether the reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be needed for a temporary period.

Our policy on face coverings and the system of controls is kept under review and is informed by the latest scientific and medical advice from PHE.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when schools will be able to start taking pupils on residential trips as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department has updated its advice to schools on the planning and booking of educational day and residential visits: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits.

It is in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to follow the Northern Ireland Executive in giving students a £500 payment due to the disruption caused to their education by the current lockdown.

The government is aware of the disruption caused to education due to the current lockdown but we will not be providing cash payments to individual students, instead we created a wider support package to aid students during this difficult time. We are making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship given the £20 million made available to higher education providers in December 2020.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies and to ensure students are able to access the support they need. The new student hardship support will really benefit those students most in need by putting money into their pockets.

The £70 million of student hardship funding will be distributed by the Office for Students to higher education providers in the approved (fee cap) category of registration, who will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, including international and self-funded students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. We would encourage all students who need assistance to reach out to their university as soon as possible.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on the potential merits of adopting a no detriment policy for students this academic year in response to disruption experienced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises that students have faced many changes over the last year, as higher education (HE) providers have had to adapt teaching, learning and assessment methods in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Last year, these adaptations included some providers putting in place no detriment policies to ensure that students were not unfairly affected by these challenging circumstances.

It is vital that a fair approach to exams and assessment is in place and understood by students. This must enable students to progress and leave with qualifications that reflect their hard work. The government’s clear expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained. We expect providers to make all reasonable efforts for student achievement to be reliably assessed and for qualifications to be awarded securely.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has committed to protecting students throughout the present crisis, whilst ensuring that quality and standards are upheld. Guidance for providers, published by the OfS and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, makes clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. This means ensuring that courses are high quality, students are supported and achieve good outcomes, and standards are protected.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a rent refund policy for higher education students who are unable to live in their student accommodation as a result to covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own rent agreements. The government plays no direct role in the provision of student accommodation.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we encourage universities and accommodation providers to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, transparent and have the best interests of students at heart.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students to clarify that providers are able to draw on existing funds, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/2021, towards hardship support. The government is making available up to a further £20 million on a one-off basis to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students. As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, said on 7 January, we are considering what more we can do to provide further support to students.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason education supply staff are not automatically signed up to the flexible furlough scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 30 April 2021. Employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, under some circumstances their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the CJRS to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements. Employees can work for any amount of time and any work pattern, but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the safety of university libraries for staff and students from the transmission of covid-19; and whether he has plans to review the covid-19 guidance on the opening of university libraries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority and the government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE providers in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education. As stated in the spring term 2021 student return guidance published on 7 January 2021, all HE providers should offer asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return, which will help to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and control outbreaks. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Due to the national lockdown measures now in place, we must take further steps to reduce transmission, including by significantly reducing the number of students returning to university from their winter break accommodation, and limiting the number of people travelling to and from university facilities, including libraries. The majority of courses should be delivered online until at least mid-February. Providers are permitted to open facilities to support the teaching and learning of those students who can return for face-to-face teaching, and a limited number of other students who have an exceptional reason to return to university facilities, but these should be maintained for essential use only wherever possible. Our aim is to minimise the number of students who return to university to access university facilities.

Universities have worked extremely hard to put in place a wide range of measures to deliver a COVID-secure environment. Measures include enhanced cleaning and improved ventilation and changes to university lay-out to comply with social distancing guidelines. In addition, all universities have plans for managing and controlling outbreaks. These have been agreed with local directors of public health and continue to be reviewed and updated based on emerging lessons and local situations. Providers have carried out risk assessments for each setting including libraries, putting in place measures to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue new guidance on teaching (a) about Sikhism in secondary schools and (b) diversity and inclusion in KS2 and KS3.

The Department for Education does not provide guidance to schools on teaching about any specific religion.

All state funded schools are required to teach religious education (RE) which must reflect that “the religious traditions in Great Britain are Christian, in the main, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain”. For most maintained schools, in each local authority area the key document in determining the teaching of RE is the statutory locally agreed syllabus, which sets out details of what must be taught. Alternatively, academies and most schools designated as having a religious character may develop and teach their own RE syllabuses.

Schools should publish online the content of their curriculum in each academic year for every subject, including religious education.

The Department provides non-statutory guidance to schools on how the Equality Act 2010 affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act, including inclusion and diversity in how the curriculum is delivered. The guidance can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

Diversity is also being considered by the Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities established by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, to examine inequality in the UK. In their Call for Evidence, the Commission asked for evidence to describe how the school curriculum could be adapted in response to the ethnic diversity of the country. The Commission is due to report to my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, by the end of February 2021 and the Department will carefully consider the Commission’s report when published.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the spread of covid-19 of students returning to their university residences after Christmas 2020.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our higher education institutions during this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January we published updated guidance on ‘Students returning to, and starting higher education, in Spring Term 2021’. This sets out that most students should not return to university and should study from their current residence, where possible, until at least mid-February. Only those students who are on courses which are most important to be delivered in-person, to support the pipeline of future key workers, should return to university as planned. Other students are being asked to stay where they are and access their learning online during the period of national restriction. These students should be able to return, on a staggered basis, once national restrictions are lifted. Further information on this guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950367/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021.pdf.

All students should be offered testing on their return to university and we strongly encourage them to take this up. Any returning student who chooses not to be tested should self-isolate for 10 days.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the allocation of laptops to St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds in response to the covid-19 outbreak was reduced from 19 to four; and if he will make a statement on how the allocation of such laptops relates to the needs of pupils in individual schools.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged pupils who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.

The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged pupils that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools.

In the context of significant global demand, the Department has updated its allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of pupils schools typically have self-isolating, ensuring as many pupils as possible benefit from receiving a device this term. We recognise that levels of self-isolation may be higher in different areas of the country and that face to face education is being prioritised in all eventualities.

This more targeted approach will mean as many schools and disadvantaged pupils as possible benefit from receiving a device in the event that their face to face education is disrupted.

Where schools need additional devices for disadvantaged pupils, they should contact the Department’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

These laptops and tablets are an injection of support to help local authorities, academy trusts and schools to provide access to remote education and online social care. Local authorities, academy trusts and schools are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which pupils need access to a device.

The laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, trust or school, who can lend unused laptops and tablets to pupils who need them most if they experience disruption to face to face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has made to providers of accommodation on behalf of university students who wish to terminate their contracts early in order to be able to go home to study online.

We are committed to ensuring students receive high-quality education. Higher education (HE) providers remain open and face-to-face teaching has continued throughout the period of national restrictions. We are only asking HE providers to move online by 9 December for the remainder of autumn term to enable students to return home prior to the winter break, safely following the national restrictions, and to still be able to continue their studies.

The government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation whether the accommodation is managed by universities or private sector organisations. We urge accommodation providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period. A number of universities and large companies waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts.

If students face financial hardship and struggle to pay their rent, support is available. In the first instance, a student should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context tenants and landlords are encouraged to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme. Many HE providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need, including emergencies. The expectation is that where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support ESOL teaching that has been disrupted by the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We want to get all further education learners, including ESOL students, back into education settings as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Many FE providers are already open for some learners, including those who are 16-19 and adults, subject to the required safety measures being met. From Autumn 2020, all learners, including those who are 16-19 and adults will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post 16 learning provider.

We are providing a one-off, ring-fenced grant of up to £96M for colleges, sixth forms and all 16-19 providers, to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16-19 students whose studies have been disrupted.

We will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year and funding allocations for 2020/21 have been confirmed, and payments will be made in line with the national profile.

We are also exploring options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to help remove barriers, including IT equipment or connectivity costs, for learners wishing to access their provision online.



Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the children of parents who are shielding will be required to attend school from September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Our intention is for all children to return to school from September. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools plan for a full return.

Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of COVID-19. This means that even the small number of pupils who remain on the shielded patient list can return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.

Some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school.

The current advice on shielding can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

The guidance on the full opening of schools can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons Windmill and Low Road primary schools in Leeds have been unable to access the free school meal voucher scheme run by Edenred.

Windmill Primary School and Low Road Primary School have been issued with an activation email from Edenred and user accounts have been created for both schools to order the free school meal vouchers. Using data held by the department, school administrators have been sent a welcome email with details on how to access and activate the school’s account. The welcome email was sent between 31 March and 2 April 2020.

On 19 June both schools asked for their contact emails to be updated and, once verified by the department, they will receive new activation links.

The status of Windmill and Low Road Primary Schools’ account can be checked online using the Edenred public portal. It also includes guidance on how to proceed if schools are experiencing technical problems with accessing their accounts: https://edenreduk.secure.force.com/publicportal/.

Schools who are experiencing technical difficulties with Edenred can contact them directly via the dedicated helpline (0333 400 5932) or an email address (freeschoolmeals@edenred.com) set up specifically for schools participating in the national voucher scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effect on BAME communities of the requirement that non-EU nationals must in general have indefinite leave to remain in order to apply for student finance.

Student finance is generally available to those who have no restrictions on their ability to live and work in the United Kingdom, so that they are likely to be able stay in the UK to complete their education and contribute to the UK economy afterwards.

In 2016, the regulations governing student support were amended to introduce a new eligibility category for those who do not have settled status but who have resided in the UK for an extended period. The amendment extended access to support to students who have spent half their life or at least 20 years in the UK preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course, or 7 years for those under 18 years old. Like most other students, they must be ordinarily resident in England and have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) for the 3 years preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course to qualify for support.

An equality impact assessment was carried out on this change before it was introduced. This can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517514/bis-16-200-new-eligibility-category-for-higher-education-student-support-equality-impact-analysis.pdf. This assessment concluded that the policy could particularly benefit people from the Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Central, Europe Other or Middle East regions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Leeds Central, dated 8 April 2020, on high school places in South Leeds.

I can confirm that the letter, received by the Department on 8 April 2020, from the right hon. Member for Leeds Central has been responded to.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to students on securing accommodation in advance of the start of the autumn 2020 university term.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

I have written to students advising them that a number of universities and private accommodation providers are now considering how COVID-19 impacts can be managed in accommodation contracts for the 2020/21 academic year to give students confidence to make their plans.

I welcome the actions of many university and private accommodation providers in waiving and refunding rents this summer, along with their efforts to support and care for their students through this difficult period.

Students who have already signed an accommodation contract for next year and, because of COVID-19, think it may no longer fit their requirements, should talk directly to their housing provider.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. Students may be entitled to refunds from accommodation providers depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the re-opening of universities in autumn 2020.

We expect universities to be open for the autumn term, with a blend of online teaching and in-person tuition that they consider appropriate, taking account of the need to minimise risk to staff and students.

We are working with the higher education sector to identify guidance and best practice that will be needed for universities to make informed decisions about their provision. This will help them to decide when and how they can make facilities accessible again for staff and students in a way that minimises the risks and in line with public health advice.

Universities have remained open throughout lockdown and have applied their research expertise to finding solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak in this unprecedented period. They have also delivered some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning, and now the sector is working hard in preparation for the new academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to reimburse schools that have bought school meal vouchers for pupils in cases where parents have been unable to access the Edenred voucher system.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

We are committed to ensuring that no child should go hungry as a result of the measures introduced by government during this period. This is why we have introduced a number of immediate measures to ensure children who usually receive free school meals still have access to this provision while they are not attending school.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that food parcel arrangements may not always be possible, and so at the end of March we launched a national voucher scheme to provide schools with additional flexibility to decide what is best for families in their schools. This was an unprecedented intervention to support eligible children during this period.

Voucher codes are being processed through the national scheme and many thousands of families are redeeming them. Edenred has reported that over 17,000 schools have placed orders for the scheme and as of Wednesday 20 May, Edenred reported that more than £96 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families. We have been working closely with Edenred to improve the scheme, and we thank schools using the system for their patience while it has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

We understand that alternative approaches, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for shops not in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional costs. We have published guidance on the financial support available for schools who incur these additional costs in this way here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Schools will be able to claim up to a certain limit, depending on their number of pupils, and where they are unable to meet these additional costs from their existing resources, or which they could only meet by drawing down on reserves and undermining their long-term financial sustainability. In exceptional instances where individual schools face additional costs that are higher than the grant’s limits, schools will be able to apply to increase their limit.

Our latest guidance for schools on free school meals provision during this period is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents who do not let their child return to school as covid-19 lockdown measures are eased will face fines for their child’s non-attendance.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.

By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.

Further guidance for parents and carers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether teachers in schools are allowed to wear face masks when teaching children during the covid-19 outbreak.

Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people from other households and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained (for example, on public transport or in some shops). This does not apply to schools, which should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Cleaning and maintaining hygiene are important measures in controlling the spread of the virus.

Guidance for schools on how to implement protective measures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of telephone calls to Edenred have been unanswered since 23 March 2020 to date.

During this period, we are asking schools to support pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are redeeming them. As of 28 April our supplier, Edenred, reported that over 16,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme and as of Monday 4 May, Edenred has reported that over £47 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme.

Schools can contact Edenred using either the email address or phone number set up specifically for the Department of Education’s national voucher scheme (freeschoolmeals@edenred.com or 0333 400 5932). Call volumes are very high at the moment so we would recommend submitting queries via email where possible. We do not hold call handling details.

We are working closely with Edenred on the performance of the voucher scheme and their engagement with queries from schools.

As always, we thank schools for their patience and for ensuring that families most in need continue to receive the support they require.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what arrangements are in place to enable schools to contact Edenred about problems with free school meals vouchers.

Schools can contact Edenred using either the email address or phone number set up specifically for the department’s national voucher scheme (freeschoolmeals@edenred.com or 0333 400 5932). Call volumes are very high at the moment so we would recommend submitting queries via email where possible. As always, we thank schools for their patience and for ensuring that families most in need continue to receive the support they require.

We are working tirelessly with Edenred to resolve any outstanding technical problems so that children eligible for free schools meals are supported quickly.

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to reduce methane and CO2 emissions from animal agriculture in order to help meet the UK's net zero emissions target.

The Government is committed to take action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impact. We are introducing three schemes that reward environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Together, these schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through these schemes, farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering public goods, including adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

The Agricultural Transition Plan outlined how the government will support farmers and land managers by investing the money freed up from phasing out direct payments to pay for improvements to the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

Defra takes a key role in supporting emissions reduction by providing scientific advice and evidence. This includes long term breeding work to develop more efficient, productive and resilient crops and livestock, as well as research on more efficient feeding strategies for livestock. Innovation in livestock feeds is resulting in promising technologies to reduce methane emissions. We have commissioned work to holistically evaluate suitability, scalability and net mitigation effects of methane-inhibiting livestock feed supplements in a UK context.

More detail on the Government plans to help the UK meet its climate targets will be set out in the Net Zero strategy, to be published ahead of COP26.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the (a) application for Musical Instrument Certificates (MICs) for musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements must be made in the country of export and (b) UK recognises the same (i) MICs and (ii) CITES requirements necessary for EU member states.

A Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) is ordinarily issued by the country of residence to facilitate multiple cross border movements of instruments covered by CITES controls.

Following our departure from the EU, by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, the UK retained the CITES legislation and procedures followed whilst we were members of the EU. The UK will continue to accept MICs issued by EU Member States.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements can travel using (a) the Eurotunnel and (b) other roll-on roll-off services.

Any musical instruments covered by CITES controls must be imported or exported through one of the 36 designated land, sea and airports which are all currently operational. The up to date list of the ports is available on the following GOV.UK page: www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-specimens-through-uk-ports-and-airports.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether musicians travelling to the UK from the EU with instruments that have CITES requirements must travel through CITES designated points of entry and exit.

Any musical instruments covered by CITES controls must be imported or exported through one of the 36 designated land, sea and airports which are all currently operational. The up to date list of the ports is available on the following GOV.UK page: www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-specimens-through-uk-ports-and-airports.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of reduced numbers of EU citizens working on UK farms on crop yields in the first six months of 2021; and if he will make a comparative assessment of (a) the number of EU citizens working on UK farms and (b) crop yields in the first six months of 2020 and the first six months of 2021.

Defra continues to work closely with the agriculture sector on its workforce requirements.

Defra makes use of all available information to understand labour demand and supply, considering both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements. This includes engaging closely with farmers, growers and industry bodies to consider the latest data and business intelligence.

In 2021 and beyond, agricultural businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status and EU nationals who have settled status can continue to travel to the UK to do seasonal work in 2021.

Over 5.1 million EU citizens and their families have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The application deadline was 30 June 2021 and where a person eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

In addition to this, the Seasonal Workers Pilot has been expanded for 2021, from 10,000 to 30,000 visas, granted for workers to come to the UK, from EU or non-EU countries, for a period of up to six months to work in the edible horticulture sector.

Defra is also working across Government to ensure there is a long-term evidence-based strategy for the agricultural workforce beyond 2021.

Defra produces crop statistics annually as part of the Agriculture in the UK statistical release. This data does not break down the yields into periods of less than a year, so we do not have the data to respond to part (b).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to recent reports of unsold electrical goods being destroyed by Amazon, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make it unlawful for retailers to destroy unsold stock.

There is already an obligation, set out in the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, for businesses that handle waste to take all measures reasonable to apply the waste hierarchy. Failure to meet the legal obligation can lead to enforcement action from the Environment Agency in England.

We also have a producer responsibility system in place under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations to ensure all waste electrical and electronic products are collected and treated properly. This supports action in line with the waste hierarchy by those who treat electronics to ensure priority is given to preparing the products for reuse where possible, and then recycling so full use is made of components and materials.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the future funding arrangements will be for the National Wildlife Crime Unit; and whether that funding will be for 12 months or on a longer term basis.

Since 2016, Defra and the Home Office have committed £300,000 a year to fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). This contribution has been continued into the financial year 2021/22. The NWCU's other funding partners, the Scottish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the National Police Chiefs Council, have similarly undertaken to maintain their contributions through 2021/22. Decisions on the government's future funding of the NWCU will be taken as part of the next Spending Review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to strengthen the law against hare coursing.

We made it clear in our Action Plan on Animal Welfare that we are determined to do more to crack down on the illegal practice of hare coursing and we have committed to introducing legislation. On 17 June I will be chairing a round table with the police and stakeholders to share our outline proposals and initiate detailed consultations with officials.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers from 2023; and if he will make a statement.

The government plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers subject to further evidence and analysis. On timelines for implementation, we want a timetable that is bold but realistic, given our desire to develop and implement an effective, cost-efficient scheme that works coherently across the UK. We will provide further information on this timetable, along with further details of the proposed DRS, in our forthcoming consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many grazing livestock farms in lowland areas had only (a) sheep and (b) beef cattle, in England in 2019.

In June 2019, the number of lowland grazing holdings in England with sheep but no beef cattle was 11,766, while the number of holdings with beef cattle but no sheep was 8,553.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of farmers switching from lamb to beef production.

In 2019, there were 7,085 grazing livestock farms in lowland areas in England with some amount of beef and sheep on the holding. These businesses have the ability to change the mix of these enterprises within their business.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Arla on the relocation of its production capacity to the UK in the event of tariffs being charged on dairy products by the UK and the EU.

The Secretary of State met the Chief Executive of Arla on 9 October 2019, where the impact of a no deal exit on Arla was discussed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the assessment he has made of the effect on dairy producers in the UK of tariffs being charged by the UK and the EU in the event of no agreement being reached in the current negotiations on the future relationship.

Previous studies (e.g. LEI Wageningen Uur, 2016) have indicated that the application of MFN tariffs on trade between the EU and UK would result in an increase in domestic farm gate prices for raw milk.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for the bid by the Canal and River Trust for capital funding to enable the development of the Leeds Inland Port and the upgrading of eight locks on the Aire and Calder Navigation.

I refer the Rt Hon Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Leeds North West on 22 October 2020, PQ UIN 105528.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-10-19/105528]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made as to whether there are sufficient supplies of heat-treated pallets to meet EU regulations covering the transport of products from 1 Jan 2021.

After the end of the Transition Period, all wood packaging material (WPM) moving between Great Britain (GB) and the EU must be treated and appropriately marked in compliance with international standards (ISPM 15). This is in line with international requirements for trade and is in place to protect both the EU and GB from harmful plant pests and diseases.

Defra has established a strong relationship with the WPM industry. The UK Timber Pallet and Packaging Confederation (TIMCON), the Freight Transport Association , National Association of Pallet Distributors, the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) and the Closed Pallet Pooling Coalition have been working hard with Defra and industry to ensure there are sufficient compliant pallets available for 1 January 2021. This will ensure our biosecurity is maintained and trade continues to flow with as little disruption as possible.

The WPM industry have been working tirelessly to both increase the stock of compliant WPM and to grow our WPM treatment capacity by increasing the number of heat treatment facilities (kilns) and their hours of operation and by simplifying and improving ISPM15 processes to reduce the time needed to treat their WPM. In a recent survey of the industry, 70% of respondents indicated they were confident that they would be fully ready by the end of the Transition Period. TIMCON is also strongly encouraging FEFPEB and EU national associations to engage and support their countries’ WPM industries to increase their own stocks of compliant pallets.

Defra, the Forestry Commission and other relevant plant health authorities are continuing to work closely with the WPM sector to address what further actions they need to take to manage this new requirement by the end of the Transition Period.

As there will be no immediate change to the biosecurity threat of WPM originating from the EU at the end of the Transition Period, GB will maintain its current risk-based checking regime for EU WPM.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what advice he has issued to food manufacturers on food packaging labelling requirements from 1 Jan 2021 for items (a) exported to the EU and (b) shipped from GB to Northern Ireland.

Ministers meet regularly with food manufacturers, and representatives of other parts of the supply chain, to discuss preparations for the end of the transition period including for food labelling.

The GOV.UK website provides guidance on these matters and is kept under review and updated as appropriate. Some food labels may need to change after the transition period depending on where the food is marketed and what information is provided on the label.

I can confirm that there will be a period of adjustment for labelling changes required at the end of the transition period. During this period the changes that UK businesses need to make when selling between different markets will be minimised. We are working to determine the appropriate time industry needs to make changes and will provide guidance as soon as we can do so, to ensure that businesses have clarity and certainty.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether new food packaging labelling will be required from 1 Jan 2021 for items (a) exported to the EU and (b) shipped from GB to Northern Ireland.

Ministers meet regularly with food manufacturers, and representatives of other parts of the supply chain, to discuss preparations for the end of the transition period including for food labelling.

The GOV.UK website provides guidance on these matters and is kept under review and updated as appropriate. Some food labels may need to change after the transition period depending on where the food is marketed and what information is provided on the label.

I can confirm that there will be a period of adjustment for labelling changes required at the end of the transition period. During this period the changes that UK businesses need to make when selling between different markets will be minimised. We are working to determine the appropriate time industry needs to make changes and will provide guidance as soon as we can do so, to ensure that businesses have clarity and certainty.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many different firms have been contracted to deliver food to people who are shielding; and whether those firms are being paid the same for that work.

Defra have contracted two firms, Brakes and Bidfood, to deliver food boxes to extremely clinically vulnerable people who have no other means of accessing food. The contract details including the contract and value will be published on Contracts Finder and the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in due course and in any event within the prescribed publishing timeframe. The contracted price per delivered box is the same for both firms.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effect on insects of electro-magnetic radiation.

Defra has supported national and global comprehensive scientific reviews on status and pressures for insects and other pollinators.

In 2014, we published a review of the status and value of pollinators in England and the UK, which we updated last year. We also supported a major global review of the status and threats to insect pollinators, published in 2015 by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. These reports did not identify electromagnetic radiation (EMR) as a significant threat to pollinating insects. Instead they highlighted key threats such as habitat loss, inappropriate pesticide use and invasive species. We have subsequently taken action on each of these.

Further studies have been published subsequently. In 2018, an EU-funded ‘EKLIPSE’ study concluded that “few ecological studies exist, but when they do, the reported EMR effects are negligible, contrasting, or cannot be separated from other environmental factors”.

Scientific evidence on risks to pollinators is continually evolving and we take it very seriously. We continue to work closely with leading UK scientists to keep EMR and other potential drivers of change under review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has plans to replace the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP).

I refer the hon. Member for Leeds Central to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend for East Devon on 26 July 2021, UIN: 36810.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many meetings (a) he has and (b) other Ministers of his Department have attended with international trade advisers in the (i) Northern Powerhouse, (ii) Midlands Engine, (iii) South and (iv) London regions; and which Ministers were in attendance at each of those meetings.

According to Department for International Trade records, the Secretary of State did not attend any meetings with international trade advisers since February 2020.

Other ministers have attended twenty-seven meetings with international trade advisers since February 2020. Ten meetings took place in the Northern Powerhouse region, one in the Midlands Engine, fifteen in the South, and one in London.

Minister Stuart attended six meetings in the Northern Powerhouse, eleven in the South, one in the Midlands Engine, and one in London.

Minister Jayawardena attended four meetings in the Northern Powerhouse, and four meetings in the South.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many businesses by region have been supported through the Export Academy; and what the cost to the public purse has been of the Export Academy since it was launched in 2020.

The Department is not able to provide, reliably, the management information data requested. 2018/19 is the last published data from the Export Client Quality Survey which reported that over 19,000 unique businesses were supported by the Department for International Trade.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many businesses have received support from his Department's network of international trade advisors since its launch in 2020, broken down by region of the UK.

The Department is not able to provide, reliably, the management information data requested. Published research from the Export Client Quality Survey reported 7,896 unique businesses supported by International Trade Advisors between April 2018 and March 2019.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the use of UK arms exported to Israel; and whether she plans to review the licensing of such exports.

HM Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel. We have procedures in place to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. We consider all our export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard procedure.

HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to review UK exports of (a) tear gas and (b) rubber bullets to the US.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate he has made of the number of dishwashers that were imported into the UK from outside the EU in each of the last five years.

Details of UK imports of dishwashers from outside the EU is attached.

18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what routes his Department has produced costings in the first phase of the proposed West Yorkshire Mass Transit system.

The Department has not produced costings, as it is for West Yorkshire Combined Authority to develop the scheme. The figures used by the Department come from proposals submitted by West Yorkshire Combined Authority for the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements programme.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the fastest journey time from Leeds to Sheffield by rail is; and what that journey time is planned to be under the proposals set out in the Integrated Rail Plan.

Journey times from Leeds to Sheffield by rail currently take around 40 minutes. Intercity connections will be further considered within the £100m funding announced in the IRP which includes work on how best to take HS2 services to Leeds.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the latest study by Highways UK on the impact of 38.4 tonne and 44 tonne volumetric concrete mixers on road infrastructure.

National Highways (then Highways England) commissioned a report into the load effects of volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs) in 2017. The Department for Transport does not have plans to publish the report.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether an environmental impact assessment has been undertaken on the number of additional journeys that will result from the introduction of a 32 tonne limit on volumetric mobile plants.

The standard weight limits applicable to four-axle rigid vehicles is 32 tonnes. In 2017, the Government published the response to a consultation relating to specialised vehicle testing in which it was asked whether volumetric mobile plants (VCMs) should be permitted to exceed the standard 32-tonne weight limit for vehicles of their design.

Vehicle weight limits are necessary to maintain the integrity of road structures and ensure vehicles are not overloaded, presenting a danger to other road users. No environmental impact assessment has been undertaken; however, an impact assessment was conducted at the time of the regulatory change, which included these factors, and is available online.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to make the fitting of GPS trackers on all new cars compulsory.

Before new road vehicles can be placed on the market and registered, manufacturers must obtain type approval to the relevant technical requirements. The technical requirements are established at an international level and currently do not require the fitting of GPS trackers on new cars. There are no plans to amend these requirements.

The Department for Transport will be consulting during the autumn on legislation to introduce a new GB type approval scheme for road vehicles. This will include a Call for Evidence on possible new measures to introduce into the GB scheme in the future.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will set out the criteria used in respect of the covid-19 travel rules in deciding that (a) Pakistan should remain on the red list and (b) India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates should move from the red to the amber list, announced on 5 August 2021.

Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country and territory include genomic surveillance capability, COVID-19 transmission risk and variant of concern transmission risk. A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under regular review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress has been made on development of the Sevington lorry park and checking facility in Ashford; and how many lorries a day is that site processing as at 28 June 2021.

Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF) has operated well since it opened in January, conducting COVID-19 testing for hauliers leaving the UK. This has been an important operation in order to keep freight moving in times when the pandemic has peaked, and countries have had to instigate COVID-19 border protocols.

HMRC successfully transitioned their operations from Waterbrook IBF to Sevington IBF in March. The total number of vehicles processed by HMRC at Sevington on 28 June was 723, with a total of 676 COVID-19 tests being carried out on the same day.

Landscaping commenced with the beginning of the planting season, which is an important part of our environmental strategy to mitigate against visual impacts and to enhance biodiversity. The Department is also reviewing lighting on-site following feedback from local residents and the public and will be looking to implement some changes shortly.

Construction of the Border Control Post (BCP) has been progressing well with structures for all buildings now in place and accommodation buildings being erected. Completion of the BCP is on course for the end of the year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Apr 2021
What recent progress has been made on HS2.

Construction is underway and already supporting over 15000 jobs including over 500 apprenticeships. Phase 2a has also achieved royal assent.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from UK citizens living in France on the problems that those citizens are encountering in exchanging a UK driving licence for a local driving licence; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to establishing reciprocal arrangements with France with the minimum of bureaucracy. The Government has secured interim arrangements with the French authorities which will allow UK licence holders to continue to use their valid UK licence until 1 January 2022. We are working with the French government to finalise a permanent arrangement and to find a solution for those with expired UK licences. The Government commits to providing an update as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of lorries that have left the UK via (a) the Port of Dover and (b) Eurotunnel from 1 Jan 2021 to the latest date for which information is available.

The Department for Transport (DfT) does hold estimates of the number of lorries that have left the UK via the Short Strait crossings since the start of the year. However some the data used to estimate this is provided by transport operators on a commercially confidential basis. Whilst these operators may give permission for this data to be shared during periods of specific disruption, the DfT does not have permission to share this information during times of normal running. As such it is not possible to provide this information at this time.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many Kent Access Permits have been issued to date.

The total number of Kent Access Permits that have been issued to date is 106,201.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans for electric scooters to be required to emit a sound to warn pedestrians of their approach; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has been working closely with a number of local authorities and rental e-scooter service providers since last July to establish trials to build evidence about e-scooter use.

All e-scooters used in trials must have a horn or bell so that users can make others aware of their presence and continuous sound emitter devices are also being trialled; their efficacy will be reviewed along with all other evidence from trials later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether lorries travelling into Kent from the rest of the UK but not travelling to EU countries will from 1 January 2021 have to register with the DVSA in order to demonstrate an exemption for a Kent Access Permit.

As set out in HM Government’s Border Operating Model first published on 13 July 2020, HGV drivers making domestic journeys that start, travel through, or end in Kent, will not need to obtain a Kent Access Permit. It is recommended that all drivers who are transporting goods domestically carry paperwork detailing their journey so any possible delays can be minimised

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish guidance for lorries travelling into Kent from the rest of the UK but not travelling to a country in the UK on how they can demonstrate from 1 January 2021 that they do not need to be in possession of a Kent Access Permit in order to enter the county of Kent.

As set out in HM Government’s Border Operating Model first published on 13 July 2020, HGV drivers making domestic journeys that start, travel through, or end in Kent, will not need to obtain a Kent Access Permit. It is recommended that all drivers who are transporting goods domestically carry paperwork detailing their journey so any possible delays can be minimised

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether EU-registered lorries that have entered the UK to make deliveries will require a Kent Access Permit for their return journey if they are empty.

Subject to passage of the necessary Statutory Instruments, an empty HGV using the Short Straits crossings on its return to the EU will require a Kent Access Permit.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the proportion of EU-registered lorries that have entered the UK in a seven day period to make deliveries that will require a Kent Access Permit because they are carrying return loads destined for the EU.

All EU registered HGVs returning in a 7 day period will need a Kent Access Permit if using the short straits crossings, even if they are carrying an empty trailer. We are working closely with EU based hauliers and their industry associations to ensure they understand this requirement and have access to the information they need to take exports to the EU from 1 January.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which Government agency or agencies will be responsible for (a) checking lorry paperwork, (b) issuing fines and (c) impounding non-compliant lorries under the proposed Kent Access Permit scheme.

In August 2020, Her Majesty’s Government consulted on the use of a Kent Access Permit (KAP) for any EU-bound Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV – goods vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes) taking goods via the Short Straits Channel crossing after the end of the EU transition period. Under these proposals, if taken forward:

  1. Contractors working for DfT, HMRC and Defra (or its agencies) would confirm if an HGV driver has a valid KAP using the Smart Freight Service, and in some cases, conduct documentation checks.

  2. Fixed Penalty Notices or Financial Penalty Deposit Notices of £300 would be issued by the Police or the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if an HCV driver did not have a valid KAP.

  3. The DVSA would be able to impound vehicles should the driver choose not to pay the fine.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to make a decision on the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund bid.

The Department for Transport received the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund business case on 28 November 2019. The Department is currently carefully assessing all 12 business cases from eligible city regions and will announce the outcome of this process within the next few months.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the capacity of Leeds train stations to cope with the predicted increase in passenger demand over the next 20 years.

The Department has consulted widely with Network Rail, Train Operators, and stakeholders in Leeds and West Yorkshire on options to relieve the shortage of capacity and plan for expected growth in rail traffic. We are now developing a programme of possible improvements which will benefit passengers in the area in the medium to long term. Next steps include developing and authorising a number of short & medium-term infrastructure improvements to increase capacity and performance in the Leeds Station area.

With regards to Leeds station specifically, the Government is committed to making improvements to the station to increase its capacity, including work already under way to add a new platform and tracks and upgrade the signalling.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the planned expansion of UK airports is compatible with the Government's policy on CO2 reduction.

The Government recognises that the fight against climate change is the greatest and most pressing challenge facing the modern world.

The Government is committed to setting a clear ambition for the aviation sector and is carefully considering the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

We are planning to consult shortly on an update to the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that we consider how aviation can play its part in delivering our net zero ambitions, in order that the aviation sector can continue to thrive.

The Airports National Policy Statement guarantees that any new runway at Heathrow will only be built if an applicant for development consent can demonstrate that any increase in carbon emissions from the scheme will not materially impact the government’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets, now and in the future.

The Government is also supportive of airports making best use of their existing capacity, subject to the assessment of the merits of individual applications, including consideration of their environmental impacts. The government set out its policy position for the South East of England in Beyond the Horizon: The future of UK aviation: Making best use of existing runways.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants received their final payment of the £20 a week universal credit uplift on or prior to 8 September 2021.

For Universal Credit claimants, Assessment Periods that ended on or after 6 October 2021 will not include the additional £20 per week.

The latest available statistics, taken from Stat-Xplore, show that the number of people who were on Universal Credit on 9 September 2021 was 5.8 million.

These statistics are published monthly and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in Leeds Central who will be affected by the proposed cut of the universal credit uplift.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of exactly how many people will be affected by the removal of the £20 uplift during October due to uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery and the resulting effect on the caseload.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department will complete its investigation into the fraud allegedly committed against the hon. Member for Leeds Central's constituent ML and reinstate her tax credits.

The Department takes fraud very seriously. Where it does enter the benefit system, there are dedicated teams on hand to investigate potential fraud. The Department provides a clear message to claimants on Gov.uk as to what constitutes benefit fraud and what action we will take if benefit fraud is suspected. This can be found at https://www.gov.uk/benefit-fraud

All cases are progressed as quickly as possible, but some cases are complex and can take time to resolve. We cannot provide an update on any particular case by way of a parliamentary response, nor can we provide details on any ongoing fraud investigation. However, we would invite the Rt. Hon member to write to us about the case that has prompted his concerns, which will allow us to respond accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to check that a tenancy agreement and the rent quoted are genuine when considering the housing allowance element of a universal credit claim.

For those who live in the Private Rented Sector, we have an upload facility available for claimants to submit evidence to support their claim for housing costs support. Where necessary, original documents can be provided face to face to a Work Coach. In some circumstances, housing costs can be verified by directly contacting the landlord. Housing costs are always verified directly with the Social Sector landlord in Social Rented Sector cases.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of cases referred through the benefit fraud portal were found to be fraudulent claims in the last 12 months.

DWP takes fraud and error very seriously and values the part played by members of the public in reporting potential benefit fraud.

Between 1st September 2020 and 31st August 2021, we estimate that around 6% of allegations received through the GOV.UK on-line reporting tool found evidence of benefit incorrectness that resulted in a range of outcomes, including prosecution, the imposition of an Administrative Penalty, benefit correction and recovery of overpaid monies. This figure is calculated as a proportion of allegations reported via the GOV.UK on-line fraud reporting tool that contained sufficient information for our referral management team to record them on our systems and progress them.

All allegations of fraud are corroborated by DWP in the first instance to decide on the appropriate course of action where there is a concern about entitlement. Where fraud is proven, we are committed to the use of appropriate penalties.

We are increasingly focussed on preventing fraud and error entering the benefit system, with the Chancellor announcing £44m at the Spring Budget to support the expansion of both our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service and our new Enhanced Checking Service, with the development of Transaction Risking as a means of identifying high risk claims.

Our work with other Government departments and law enforcement agencies, both nationally and across borders, helps ensure appropriate intelligence and resources are shared, enabling the totality of any criminality to be identified and investigated.

Our Annual Report and Accounts published on 15 July 2021 provides more information on what we are doing to prevent fraud from occurring: DWP annual report and accounts 2020 to 2021(opens in a new tab)

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time is for a personal independence payment (PIP) renewal assessment to be undertaken; and what comparative assessment she has made of that waiting time with waiting times in April (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payment renewal assessment cases were awaiting consideration in Leeds Central constituency on 1 January in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the merits of repeated DWP assessments where an individual applicant has had a (a) brain tumour or (b) severe head injury when there is no evidence that the person’s condition will improve.

In both Work Capability Assessments (WCA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments, healthcare professionals advise on a review period that is appropriate to the individual claimant. In the WCA, if a claimant has a condition that causes severe functional impairment and there is no realistic prospect of recovery of function they can be placed in the severe conditions group and would not be routinely reassessed. In PIP, claimants receiving the highest level of benefit whose functional ability will not improve will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point. The up-coming Health and Disability Green Paper will focus on how we can make further improvements to assessments and seek views on future changes

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of applications to be KickStart Gateways have been (a) received (b) approved, (c) rejected or (d) received and are still awaiting consideration.

I refer the Honourable Member to PQ 118516 regarding the number of applications from gateway organisations. Officials are working hard to develop our data gathering and analysis processes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many EU citizens holding (a) settled status and (b) pre-settled status have had their applications for universal credfit refused since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department holds digital pension records for all pensioners.

The number of people claiming State Pension was 12.6 million at August 2019 with an estimated spend on State Pensions for 2018/19, at around £97 billion.

References: DWP benefits expenditure and caseload tables publication, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2019 and the August 2019 Statistical Enquiry, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-benefits-statistics-february-2020/dwp-benefits-statistical-summary-february-2020#pensions

The DWP holds the digital information necessary to support the payment and administration of State Pensions.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to regulate physician associates; and if he will make a statement.

The Government expects to consult on a draft statutory instrument that will bring the physician associate roles into statutory regulation next year. Statutory regulation of physician associates will begin no earlier than the summer of 2023.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients were on waiting lists for joint replacement surgery in England as of 12 November 2021.

Information is not available in the format requested. The current number of people waiting for trauma and orthopaedic services, which includes joint replacement surgery, is 700,000.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS Trusts in England have cancelled priority two elective procedures, as of 12 November 2021.

This information is not collected in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of wheelchairs made available to NHS patients in the last 12 months were manufactured in the UK.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the number of GP appointments in England that are being carried out face-to-face with patients as of 1 October 2021.

Appointment data for October 2021 is not yet available. However, from 1 to 31 August inclusive, which is the latest data available, there were an estimated 23.9 million appointments in general practice excluding COVID-19 vaccinations. Of these, 13.8 million were face to face appointments, representing 58% of all appointments that took place during that period.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason CTM has yet to respond substantively to the case referred to them in May 2021 by the hon. Member for Leeds Central on behalf of his constituent, Mr Q.

CTM has advised the Department that they have no record of the Rt hon. Member’s correspondence. However, following the Rt hon. Member’s letter of 28 April to the Department, CTM aim to ensure that the booking system as simple and accessible as possible particularly during times of high demand.

While accommodating very large family groups can be challenging hotels will prioritise allocating larger or connected rooms to families.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to provide a response to the correspondence from the Right hon. Member for Leeds Central of 10 May 2021 regarding his constituent Mr Q., reference HB6862.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 2 November 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who normally receive a flu vaccination, including people with asthma and lung conditions, will receive a covid-19 booster vaccination in autumn 2021.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) interim advice is that COVID-19 booster vaccinations should first be offered to the most vulnerable. The JCVI advises a two stage approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster vaccine and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September. Individuals in stage two would be offered a booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. The JCVI suggests those aged 16 to 49 years old who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at risk group, including some patients with chronic respiratory disease and asthma are currently included in stage two.

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility, booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the hotel quarantine charges increased from 12 August 2021 in relation to the covid-19 travel rules.

The cost for staying in a managed quarantine facility when arriving from a red list country has increased to £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult to better reflect the total costs involved with providing their quarantine, including transport to the hotel, security, provision of welfare services and the two PCR tests which must be taken on day two and day eight of the stay. The price remains unchanged at £325 for children aged 5-12 and free for children under five.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England plans to use the flu vaccine list to prioritise patients, including those with asthma, for the covid-19 booster vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential Covid-19 booster vaccination programme on 30th June 2021 which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022/jcvi-interim-advice-potential-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-winter-2021-to-2022

The JCVI’s interim advice is that COVID-19 boosters are first offered to the most vulnerable. They advise a two-staged approach, with individuals in Stage 1 offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as well as a flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September 2021, and individuals in Stage 2 offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after Stage 1, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. Adults aged over 50 years old, and those aged between 16 and 49 who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group, are included in Stage 2.

It is important to note that the JCVI’s advice is interim to inform planning, and this may be subject to change.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens vaccinated against covid-19 in the USA who will be able to demonstrate their vaccination status once they return to the UK.

No such estimate has been made. Since 30 September, a pilot process has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in NIMS and for some of these to be surfaced through the COVID Pass. This process is a proactive outreach model run by the Vaccine Data Resolution Service who contact patients with overseas vaccinations in their health records. They are invited to book a slot in a regional vaccination centre to present evidence of their vaccination, and to receive any additional vaccinations they may need. By the end of October there will be one vaccination site in every region in England offering this service. The vaccination site creates a NIMS record for the overseas vaccinations. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the EMA, FDA or Swissmedic will then be inputted into the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether UK citizens double vaccinated in the USA with the Moderna vaccine are able to obtain a covid-19 digital vaccine passport on their return to the UK.

No such estimate has been made. Since 30 September, a pilot process has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in NIMS and for some of these to be surfaced through the COVID Pass. This process is a proactive outreach model run by the Vaccine Data Resolution Service who contact patients with overseas vaccinations in their health records. They are invited to book a slot in a regional vaccination centre to present evidence of their vaccination, and to receive any additional vaccinations they may need. By the end of October there will be one vaccination site in every region in England offering this service. The vaccination site creates a NIMS record for the overseas vaccinations. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the EMA, FDA or Swissmedic will then be inputted into the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to exempt medicines required to treat sickle cell disease from prescription charges.

Sickle cell disease is not included on the list of conditions that entitle people to free prescriptions. The Government currently has no plans to review or extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list. Around 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and extensive arrangements are already in place to help people. To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, the cost of prescriptions can be spread by purchasing prescription pre-payment certificates. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of travellers entering the UK from (a) India and (b) Pakistan, who were tested by the NHS in July 2021, were found to have a positive result for covid-19.

The Data is not held in the format requested.

Data on arrivals is produced on three weekly cycles aligned with risk assessments and decisions within the international travel traffic light system. In the reporting periods covering 01 July to 11 August 13,888 people arriving from India were tested for COVID-19 with 143 people testing positive. 17,312 people arriving from Pakistan were tested with 324 people testing positive. Data on arrivals tested and testing positive can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of UK nationals who may be affected by the Government of Malta’s decision to deny entry to UK travellers who have had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in each month that that decision takes effect.

No specific estimate has been made.

However, following discussions with officials the Maltese Government confirmed on 15 July that all COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency would be accepted and United Kingdom travel advice was updated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to review the guidance issued by his Department on face mask standards for NHS workers in the context of research recently published by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which found that wearing a FFP3 mask can significantly improve protection against covid-19 infection.

The United Kingdom Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Cell continually monitors and reviews emerging evidence and data. The Cell has considered the findings of this research and concluded that, as there are some limitations in the scientific methods that were implemented, the study does not change the overall evidence base supporting the current IPC guidelines.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of CTM's performance in dealing with complaints on the operation of the quarantine hotel booking service.

Whilst there has not been a formal assessment of Corporate Travel Management’s (CTM) complaint’s process, the Managed Quarantine Service has weekly meetings with CTM’s senior leadership where operational performance issues are discussed and escalated as appropriate. Performance against the contract is managed and assessed according to the terms of the contract. Overall performance, including in relation to complaints, is discussed regularly between Departmental officials and CTM and any areas that need improvement are addressed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of covid-19 tests (a) which have been lost in transit and (b) where the results have not been reported to the person who took the test, in the last 12 months.

No estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of potential health effects of 5G mobile networking technology.

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) should be adopted and there is no convincing evidence that radio wave exposures below the ICNIRP guideline levels cause adverse health effects. The ICNIRP guidelines cover exposures arising from new 5G technologies, as well as from older technologies.

It is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area. However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the cost of covid-19 home test kits for travellers entering the UK.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England will continue to fund BSL Health Access; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a rapid review into access to British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation in the National Health Service which is near completion.


All NHS providers must comply with the public sector equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard to ensure that deaf people who wish to communicate using BSL can do so. NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended access to BSL interpretation of their 111 service via Interpreter Now.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he made of the adequacy of the number of mental health beds in England; and what estimate he has made of waiting times to access those beds.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS patients have access to Transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (TcMRgFUS) for the treatment of medication refractory Essential Tremor (ET) in (a) Leeds and (b) the North of England; and if he will make a statement.

A centre at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London has already been identified and it is intended that this service will commence in May. A second centre in the North of England will be required and discussions are ongoing with commissioners about the possible location. It is envisaged that there will need to be a formalised provider selection process given the number of expressions of interest received.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to reduce the cost of covid-19 home test kits for travellers entering the UK.

For those in quarantining at home, the testing package of two COVID-19 tests is £210 if purchased from NHS Test and Trace. We recently introduced private sector testing of travellers to offer a wider choice of providers for those who need to purchase private tests. The prices and service offered by these approved providers may vary. These costs will be kept under constant review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who have pre-ordered covid-19 Day 2 and Day 8 home quarantine tests are entitled to refunds in the event that those tests are delivered after those days have elapsed.

At present, the Government does not provide refunds for tests. The advice set out in guidance is that a day two test be taken on or before day two and a day eight test be taken on or after day eight. In the event of a delay, the guidance advises that a day two test be taken as soon as it or a replacement arrives.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will use his discretion to waive the hotel isolation fee for people returning to the UK from red list countries after having been to visit terminally-ill relatives abroad in cases where the person cannot afford that fee.

We have no plans to do so. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of these there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. We have set out how to apply for this on GOV.UK, in particular for individuals who receive income related benefits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on how many covid-19 Day 2 and Day 8 tests sent out by Live Covid Testing to people undergoing travel quarantine at home have not been processed on return to Live Covid Testing as a result of a lack of barcode information relating to those tests; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on whether people in travel quarantine at home who are sent covid-19 Day 2 and Day 8 tests by Live Covid Testing are told to keep a record of the barcode attached to those tests before sending those tests back to Live Covid Testing in case that barcode information is subsequently needed for identification purposes.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of complaints received on the late delivery of covid-19 Day 2 and Day 8 tests to people in quarantine at home by Live Covid Testing.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of NHS dental appointments; and if he will make a statement.

Dentistry has been particularly affected by the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to the number of aerosol generating procedures carried out. This has resulted in the need for an enhanced level of PPE and reduced throughput to allow for thorough cleaning and resting of rooms between patients, as set out in Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. We have been closely monitoring what has been possible and on 29 March announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of NHS treatment for binge eating disorder.

No such assessment has been made.

For children and young people, there is a programme in place to promote early access to effective, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-approved treatments for all eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, working in partnership with children, young people and their families. Information on the eating disorders programme is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/cyp/eating-disorders/

For adults, the Adult Eating Disorders: Community, Inpatient and Intensive Day Patient Care guidance published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in August 2019, emphasises that eating disorder services should provide evidence-based treatment, care and support for a range of eating disorder diagnoses, including binge eating disorder.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued on the use of do not resuscitate orders relating to (a) people with learning disabilities and (b) disabled people; and whether his Department has revised any such guidance in response to recent reports that do not resuscitate orders are allegedly being applied to individuals without their consent.

We have been clear that learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and that blanket DNACPR decisions are completely inappropriate.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a number of joint statements to health and care providers reiterating that DNACPR decisions must not be applied in a blanket fashion to any group. The 2020/21 General Medical Services (GMS) contract Quality and Outcomes Framework now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR notices issued during the pandemic. This review has started and will report later in 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK Government has promised to send surplus covid-19 vaccine doses to Vietnam.

The United Kingdom has contributed £548 million towards the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which provides the 92 most vulnerable economies access to COVID-19 vaccines. Vietnam has been allocated over 4.8 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine under this mechanism and delivery can be expected in the second quarter of 2021.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the press release of 2 October 2020, PM confirms £3.7 billion for 40 hospitals in biggest hospital building programme in a generation, whether the funding that has been announced to date as part of the New Hospitals Programme is sufficient to meet the target of delivering 40 new hospitals.

The Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) sets out our strategy for long-term rolling investment in health infrastructure with further funding to be confirmed through future Spending Reviews. Individual allocations for trusts will be determined once the respective final business cases have been reviewed and agreed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to ensure that the Leeds Teaching Hospital scheme for the new Children's Hospital and Adult building will be completed by 2025.

A national programme has been established to deliver the Government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. The programme is working collaboratively with the new hospital projects, including advanced schemes like Leeds. Whilst we are unable to comment on individual project timings, which may be subject to change under this programmatic approach, the programme delivery timetable will ensure that all of the new hospitals, including Leeds, are completed by 2030 and drive maximum value for taxpayers’ money.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Questions 133711, 133713 and 133715 tabled by the hon. Member for Leeds Central on 6 January 2021.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the latest research findings from research funded by his Department into glioma cancer have shown; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not available in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risks to tradespeople working in other people's homes of contracting covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what studies are being undertaken on the effect of covid on BME communities; and if he will make a statement.

Investment of £4.3 million has been made in new research projects into the impact of COVID-19 among people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, including health and social care workers.

The projects will explore the impact of the virus specifically on migrant and refugee groups; working with key voices within BAME communities to create targeted, digital health messages; the introduction of a new framework to ensure the representation of people from BAME backgrounds in clinical trials testing new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19; and the creation of one the United Kingdom’s largest COVID-19 cohorts.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who do not have an NHS number are able to receive the covid-19 vaccine in the UK.

Whilst a National Health Service number might be used for administration purposes, having an NHS number is not a pre-requisite to be offered the vaccine. The provision of the COVID-19 vaccine is a primary medical service and will be offered to all individuals living in the United Kingdom.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that medical students should be vaccinated against covid-19 as well as all other NHS staff.

All frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Temporary staff, including those working in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, students, trainees and volunteers who are working with patients are also included.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that blind and visually impaired people have access to the information they need on covid-19 vaccination.

PHE has published braille and large print versions of COVID-19 vaccination information.

The national booking letters are sent in size 16 point font as standard as defined by the RNIB as large print). As well as providing an option to book on the National Health Service website, the national booking letters also provide 119 as an option. Booking information will be available in braille, audio, larger print and easy read soon. This is in addition to what general practitioners and Primary Care Networks are doing locally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice he has received on making homelessness workers and the street homeless priority groups within the covid-19 vaccination programme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations.

In the immediate period we are asking partners to support their clients and service users to register with a general practice, where they are not already and, if they have health conditions that would make them clinically vulnerable/clinically extremely vulnerable that this is recorded to ensure they receive the vaccine in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice on prioritisation.

Homelessness workers may be categorised as frontline healthcare workers or social care workers. If they are frontline health care workers, they will be vaccinated in priority group two. If they are frontline social care workers, the local authority Director of Adult Social Services should have ultimate responsibility for identifying eligible social care workers, underlined by the principle aim of achieving high rates of vaccination amongst frontline social care workers who work closely and regularly with those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice he has received from Pfizer/BionTech on the implications for (a) patient safety and (b) efficacy of administering the second dose of their covid-19 vaccine more than 21 days after the first dose.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers agreed with the JCVI, that at this stage of the pandemic, prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall, in the shortest possible time, preventing mortality and protecting the National Health Service. From data available to the JCVI, the first dose of either Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provides substantial protection within two to three weeks of vaccination for clinical disease and in particular severe COVID-19 disease.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that all staff working at covid-19 test centres should be vaccinated; and if he will make a statement.

Testing staff who work at sites for symptomatic members of the public where assisted tests are carried out, are eligible to be prioritised for a vaccine as they are considered frontline healthcare workers for the purpose of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation prioritisation. Laboratory staff and those at sites for asymptomatic testing are not considered frontline healthcare workers and therefore will not be eligible for vaccine prioritisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether student nurses on placement will receive covid-19 vaccinations alongside other NHS employees.

Frontline health and care staff are at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection and of transmitting that infection to multiple persons who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 as well as to other staff in a healthcare environment. They have been prioritised in the first phase. Staff working on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, temporary staff, students, trainees and volunteers who are working with patients are included within the priority group of frontline healthcare workers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS and care staff will receive the BioNTech/Pfizer covid-19 vaccine.

The National Health Service (NHS) began vaccinating patients and NHS workers against COVID-19 at hospital hubs on 8 December 2020, in the biggest immunisation programme in the UK’s history. The majority of the vaccines so far have been administered to over 80 year olds, care home workers and NHS staff, through more than 730 vaccination sites across the UK; hundreds more are opening this week to take the running total to over 1,000.. Vaccination sites are also working with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risk of transmission of covid-19 in yoga classes; and if he will make a statement.

The Contain framework sets out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks, this includes through allocation of areas to the appropriate tier, which available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers

We have also published supporting a document, to accompany the most recent regulations. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Government guidance that states, Anyone who has previously received a positive test result for covid-19 should only be re-tested within a 90-day period if they develop any new symptoms of covid-19, whether a person who has tested positive for covid-19 and has completed 14 days of isolation is required to isolate again if a subsequent test within 90 days is positive but the person is displaying no symptoms.

A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has completed 14 days of isolation is required to isolate again if a subsequent test within 90 days is positive but the person is displaying no symptoms.

Anyone who has previously received a positive test result for COVID-19 should only be re-tested within a 90-day period if they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. This is because it is possible for tests to detect residual virus for some time after COVID-19 infection.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons Leeds Arts University has not been included on the list for rapid covid-19 testing ahead of the Christmas 2020 holiday period.

We have worked with 152 universities in England, which covers three quarters of the student population, to offer the majority of asymptomatic COVID-19 tests before they returned home for the Christmas break.

Almost all universities who expressed an interest in mass testing continued through the programme to order test kits and set up asymptomatic testing sites. However, due to the unprecedented scale of the operation, not every university was able to take part in the December phase of the project. Students at Leeds Arts University were given access to the testing service at Leeds Beckett University.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether public (a) demonstrations, (b) marches and (c) picketing are permitted under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 place necessary and proportionate restrictions on movement, gatherings and businesses. They do not restrict anyone’s right to hold or express their views, or to do so in a way that could be construed as a protest, provided these Regulations are adhered to. Similarly, picketing is permitted, provided the statutory restrictions and code of practice on picketing are followed, as well as the Coronavirus Regulations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of tests in the Liverpool mass covid-19 testing programme have returned positive results; and how that rate compares with the positive test rate found by national pillar 1 and pillar 2 testing.

In the first phase of the community testing pilot from 6 November to 9 December 2020, 25% of 498,000 residents took up lateral flow tests (LFTs) and 36% took up LFT or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. 897 individuals were identified as positive via LFT and 2,902 via PCR. Comparable national testing data is not available.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether someone is able to travel abroad under the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown rules to attend a commemorative event to celebrate the life of someone who has died or to visit their grave.

In England, individuals must remain at home unless they meet an exemption, which includes attending a commemorative event celebrating the life of a person who has died. In addition, all but essential travel is advised against, including foreign and domestic travel. Any individual who travels abroad to attend a commemorative event must follow the guidance set out by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In addition, adherence to the COVID-19 rules in the destination travelled to must be followed. This may include self-isolating, providing details to local authorities, testing for COVID-19 or even restrictions on entry.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received representations on the sustainable global supply of paediatric cardiology equipment from following the transition period.

The Department, in consultation with the devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies, is working with trade bodies, product suppliers, and the health and care system to make detailed plans to help ensure continued supply of medicines, medical products and equipment to the whole of the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period.

This includes:

- medicines (prescription-only, pharmacy and general sales list and unlicensed medicines);

- medical devices and clinical consumables;

- supplies for clinical trials and clinical investigations;

- vaccines and countermeasures; and

- blood, tissue and transplant materials.

Further detail on the plans to help ensure continuity of medical supplies is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-3-august-2020/letter-to-medicine-suppliers-3-august-2020

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many units offering treatment for patients suffering from long covid there are in England.

In July 2020, the National Health Service launched the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service to support the recovery of people who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus. This is a two-phase endeavour with phase one being available as an open, publicly available site containing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19, including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Over 100,000 people have used the online service since it was launched in July.

On 7 October the NHS announced £10 million is be invested this year to help kick start and designate ‘long COVID-19’ clinics that will be available to all patients in England. Alongside this, new guidance has been commissioned by NHS England from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the clinical case definition of ‘long COVID-19’. This will include patients who have had COVID-19 who may not have had a hospital admission or a previous positive test. It will be followed by evidence-based NICE clinical guidelines that will outline the support that ‘long COVID-19’ patients should receive, enabling NHS doctors, therapists and staff to provide a clear and personalised treatment plan. This will include education materials for general practitioners and other health professionals to help them refer and signpost patients to the right support.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent on research on the causes of, and treatment for, tinnitus in each of the last five years.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including tinnitus. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. Information on individual projects funded by the NIHR can be found at the following link:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/

NIHR support for tinnitus research was over £1.8 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20. This included funding for research projects, and funding for NIHR managed infrastructure to support tinnitus research. Current NIHR funding includes £15 million over five years from April 2017 to support deafness and hearing loss research in NIHR’s Manchester, University College London, and Nottingham Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs). The Nottingham BRC has a core research theme on tinnitus and noise sensitivity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) music ensembles and (b) orchestras can meet in groups of more than six people following the Government's announcement on 9 September 2020 of new covid-19 restrictions; and if he will publish guidance on that matter.

The latest evidence indicates that the COVID-19 infection rate is beginning to rise across the country. It is therefore now vitally important that the Government takes decisive action to limit any further spread and reduce the likelihood of a further national lockdown of the type that was necessary earlier this year. These measures were announced last week with clear guidance on what would change.

The rule of six does not apply to gatherings necessary for work. Non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can legally continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than six at any time.

If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been allocated from the public purse to research on glioma brain tumours in each of the last five years.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research reports expenditure on glioma brain tumour research in each of the last financial years is shown in the following table:

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£1.29 million

£1.40 million

£1.69 million

£1.94 million

£2.12 million

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of calorie labelling on the incidence of eating disorders.

We recognise concerns people with eating disorders may have on measures to reduce obesity and are committed to striking a careful balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices whilst not negatively impacting on those with or recovering from an eating disorder.

Obesity represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy. With over six in 10 adults and more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 years old overweight or obese, it is right we take action.

In response to feedback to our consultation on out-of-home calorie labelling, we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses, that is businesses with 250 or more employees, to calorie label the food they sell.

An equalities assessment and impact assessment were published alongside the consultation response and can be viewed at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason only £6 million of the £40 million in funding allocated for brain tumour research has been allocated to such research to date; and if he will make a statement.

The £40 million announced for brain tumour research in May 2018 was for a period of five years. To date £6 million has been committed to brain tumour research through National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programmes and the NIHR Academy. This does not include full NIHR spend which also includes spending made through NIHR infrastructure. Infrastructure spend can only be identified on an annual basis after the end of the financial year. We have relaxed the deadlines for NIHR infrastructure reporting this year to enable the health and social care system to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to extend the 12 month duration of the maternity exemption certificate for dental care for new mothers who were unable to access dental treatment during the covid-19 lockdown.

There are no plans to extend the existing charges exemption for pregnant women and those who have given birth in the last 12 months due to the pandemic.

Urgent dental care was available through the peak pandemic period via urgent dental centres and all dental practices providing NHS services were able to restart face to face care from 8 June.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish pillar 2 covid-19 testing data by postcode.

All upper tier local authorities have access to record level (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) test and case data.

We also publish public dashboards at a national, regional and local authority level and the MSOA (Middle Layer Super Output Area) map, allows users to type in a postcode to see how many cases there are in small areas of around 7,000 people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) total number and (b) the rolling average number of positive (i) pillar 1 and (ii) pillar 2 covid-19 tests has been in the (A) LS1, (B) LS2, (C) LS6, (D) LS7, (E) LS9, (F) LS10 and (G) LS11 postcodes in each of the last eight weeks.

All upper tier local authorities have access to record level (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) test and case data. Postcode level data is sensitive as there is a risk of disclosing the health information of individuals, and as such we do not have plans to provide public, postcode level data at this time


We do however publish public dashboards at a national, regional and local authority level and the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) map, which allows individuals to type in a postcode to find their MSOA and see how many cases there are in small areas of around 7,000 people


Data on the seven-day average for the number of people with COVID-19 identified through an NHS lab (Pillar 1) or from commercial swab testing (Pillar 2) back to March 2020 is available as part of the NHS Digital Progression Dashboard to upper tier local authority level and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/dashboards/progression

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice has been provided to blind and partially-sighted people about the operation of social distancing; and if he will make a statement.

The Government are committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need. The Government has set out in guidance to businesses that they should consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are visually impaired, at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb9703de90e07082fa57ce0/working-safely-during-covid-19-shops-branches-v2-140620.pdf

If a blind and/or partially sighted person needs to go out for a walk or to access essential goods they can contact friends or family who may be able to help the person to be guided safely. If a person cannot organise alternative care they can contact their local authority or health care provider. The Government has published advice regarding social distancing for blind and/or partially sighted individuals who need to go out for a walk or to access essential goods. The regulations allow for a person from another household to guide them (under the ‘provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person’ provision). This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place in the Library a copy of the representations received by (a) his Department and (b) Public Health England in respect of that organisation's report entitled Covid-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes published on 2 June 2020.

No representations were sought or received by Public Health England for its epidemiological report entitled ‘Covid-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes’, published on 2 June 2020.

Alongside the epidemiological review, Professor Fenton undertook a rapid evidence review and external stakeholder engagement with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the black, Asian and minority ethnic community, to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of COVID-19 on their communities. The results of that work have now been published and will inform the Government’s next steps being taken forward by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people contacted by the track and trace system will be told the identity of the covid-19 positive person it is said they have come in contact with (a) as a matter of routine or (b) if they ask for that information.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

The NHS Test and Trace service will not share the name or details of a COVID-19 positive person, as this is confidential. This includes where someone who has been named as a contact asks for the identity of the person who is COVID-19 positive.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific assessment supporting the decision not to subject people arriving in the UK to checks for covid-19.

The Government considers advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) before adopting new policies and interventions in relation to COVID-19. SAGE relies on external science advice, including advice from expert groups and their papers. In the case of COVID-19, this includes the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). The agendas and minutes of meetings of NERVTAG are available online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/new-and-emerging-respiratory-virus-threats-advisory-group

The Government has recently published online statements and accompanying evidence which demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has evolved as new data has emerged. These statements are available online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ECMO machines the NHS has in England; and what plans he has to procure additional machines in response to covid-19.

Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is used for patients with severe respiratory failure with a potentially reversible cause. There are five adult ECMO centres in the United Kingdom, two of which are in London and the others are based in Leicester, Manchester and Cambridge. The Department does not hold data on the number of ECMO devices available for use at any one time but is working with National Health Service colleagues to secure additional capacity.

The Government will be working alongside NHS England to tailor its response to the nature, scale and location of the threat of COVID - 19 in the UK, as our understanding develops.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) available ventilators and (b) staff trained in the use of those ventilators in the NHS in the latest period for which figures are available.

Ventilator machines are usually linked to patients in Intensive Care Units/Critical Care/High Dependency Units, although some patients may have them at home or use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines to assist with their breathing.

Information on Critical Care Bed Capacity is published by NHS England and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/

Availability of an NHS Critical Care Bed indicates the associated number of National Health Service staff with the appropriate skills and training are available to deliver the required treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether having the pneumococcal vaccine has potential benefits for patients with covid-19.

Based on our knowledge of influenza, an epidemic of viral pneumonia caused by COVID-19 infection, could potentially result in an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease above and beyond the normal seasonal variation. The United Kingdom pneumococcal conjugate programme in children provides strong ‘herd immunity’, which protects the whole population, including the elderly, against the 13 types contained in the vaccine. Cases due to other types of pneumococcus may also be covered by the vaccine which is offered as part of a national programme to those in clinical risk groups and to all over 65s. This vaccine covers 23 types of pneumococcus and will provide modest protection against severe forms of infection to those vaccinated. Both immunisation programmes may therefore help to mitigate any potential risk of an increase in pneumococcal infection associated with any COVID-19 epidemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether family members caring at home for people (a) with covid-19 and (b) in self-isolation to protect others from covid-19 should wear face masks.

Public Health England have published guidance for patients in self-isolation at home and family members who share their accommodation at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing/advice-sheet-for-people-who-live-in-the-same-accommodation-as-the-patient

Face masks are not normally recommended as they do not provide protection from respiratory viruses such as COVID-19. They are only recommended to be worn by infected persons when advised by a healthcare worker in order to reduce the risk of transmitting infection to others.

However, if for any reason the patient is unable to wear a face mask, then family members sharing their accommodation may do so, if advised, whilst in the same room as the patient.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department has commissioned any research studies on the potential effects of 5G on the ability of the human body to absorb oxygen.

The Department funds research on the effects on health of electromagnetic fields and mobile technologies through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Public Health England (PHE).

Most notable current research commissioned by NIHR includes the ongoing Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health and the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones at Imperial College London.

Whilst no specific research has been commissioned on the potential effects of 5G on the ability of the human body to absorb oxygen, PHE continues to monitor the health-related evidence in respect of electromagnetic fields, including radio waves from developing wireless communication systems such as 5G.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time was for an appointment at an NHS Gender Identity Clinic in the Leeds clinical commissioning group area in the 12 months for which figures are available.

This information is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients in the area covered by Leeds clinical commissioning group waited more than 18 weeks for surgery after referral for a (a) hip and (b) knee replacement in each of the last five years.

The attached table shows the total number of the number of hip and knee replacement procedures and the amount that waited longer than 18 weeks from pathway start.

The data shows the number of procedures per year between the periods 2014/15 – 2018/19.

It should be noted that the data does not show individual patients as the same person may have been admitted into a National Health Service hospital on more than one occasion.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve early intervention and treatment in cases of eating disorder among young people.

We know the difference that early intervention can make and recognise that the earlier treatment is provided, the greater the chance of recovery. It is vital that everyone with an eating disorder can access quick, specialist help when necessary.

The Government set up the first waiting times to improve access to eating disorder services for children and young people. The standard we are working towards is that by 2020/21, 95% of children with an eating disorder will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases. Data from January to March 2019 shows 80.6% of all patients started urgent treatment within one week and 82.4% of patients started routine treatment within four weeks.


Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for medicinal cannabis have been issued in the last 12 months.

There have been 2,655 items for licensed and unlicensed cannabis-based medicines issued on a National Health Service prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement for the period December 2018 to November 2019, the latest data available.

There have been 234 items for licensed and unlicensed cannabis-based medicines issued on a private prescription that have been submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reporting and monitoring purposes only for the period December 2018 to November 2019.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not hold data for prescriptions dispensed by hospital pharmacies. This information is not held centrally and not routinely published. Intelligence from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers is that a low number of patients are receiving prescriptions for cannabis-based products for medicinal use in independent secondary/tertiary care in England. However, this data is not collected nationally or routinely published.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on the availability of medicinal cannabis prescriptions for children with epilepsy; and if he will make a statement.

On 1 November 2018, the law was changed to allow clinicians on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Specialist Register to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use, where clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients.

On 20 December 2019 a letter was published on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website reminding prescribers of the GMC’s guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Licensed cannabis-based products indicated for epilepsy, such as Epidyolex, may be prescribed in-line with the condition of the marketing authorisation. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/guidance-prescribing-cannabis-based-products-medicinal-use.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the secondary cancer diagnosis rate was for (a) Leeds and (b) England in each of the last 5 years.

The following table lists finished admission episodes with a primary or secondary diagnosis of cancer in Leeds and England.

Leeds

England

Year

Cancer

Secondary cancer

Cancer

Secondary cancer

2014-15

14,280

4,835

1,924,381

575,650

2015-16

14,795

5,245

1,999,218

623,227

2016-17

15,725

5,185

2,077,837

654,192

2017-18

15,580

5,005

2,131,848

700,014

2018-19

14,795

4,715

2,220,501

742,844

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what NHS policy is on offering (a) PET, (b) CT and (c) MRI scans to patients undergoing treatment for primary cancer in order to identify whether they have any secondary cancer.

The optimal staging of cancers by use of Computerized Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning, either individually or in combination, varies between cancer types and is guided by clinical consensus, professional guidelines and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence publications.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in how many cases of secondary cancer diagnosed in each of the last five years had the patient undergone (a) a PET scan, (b) a CT scan or (c) an MRI scan prior to or during their treatment for the primary cancer in (i) Leeds and (ii) England.

This information is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will recognise the National Unity Government of Myanmar.

The UK has a longstanding policy and practice, held by successive Governments, of according recognition to states, not governments. Nevertheless, the UK is clear in our condemnation of the coup and stand in solidarity with those calling for a return to democracy, including the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG) who have a strong democratic mandate from the November 2020 Election. The UK has supported representatives from the NUG to amplify their voice on the international stage. They have briefed the UN Security Council in informal "Arria" meetings on 9 April and 29 July. We are also clear that we the wider international community must engage with the NUG.

Both I and my predecessor have met with members of the National Unity Government, most recently meeting with Daw Zin Mar Aung on 4 November. Officials are engaging regularly with senior figures in the NUG.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the status is of the around 175 British Council contractors who have applied to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) but have so far received no answer; whether those contractors are eligible for ARAP; what the process is by which those contractors may be able to gain rapid approval under the category 4 case-by-case approvals system; how that approvals system will work; and when that approvals system will commence.

We stand by our commitment to help all Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK. The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) offers resettlement for eligible Afghan staff who have assisted the UK Government, and their families, and others who have worked with the Government in exceptional circumstances. As the then Foreign Secretary confirmed to the House on 6 September, applications from British Council contractors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with the (a) Secretary of State for Defence and (b) Home Secretary to expedite the relocation of the 30 plus British Council contractors and their families who have previously been approved for relocation under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy but remain in Afghanistan.

Providing support to those individuals eligible for Her Majesty's Government support, including the remaining Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy approved British Council contractors, remains a top priority and we have focused our efforts on this, including putting in additional resources. We have created a new Joint Afghanistan Casework Unit, staffed by officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence, which is taking forward the UK's commitment to resettle individuals and those family members confirmed to be eligible. We will continue to work to take advantage of all opportunities to help those eligible to come to the UK to leave Afghanistan.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Iranian counterpart on the imprisonment of the human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran.

The UK Government has repeatedly raised Nasrin Sotoudeh's ongoing detention with the Iranian authorities. On 25 September, the UK joined 46 other countries in calling for her release at the Human Rights Council. We have designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country, and press Iran to improve its poor human rights at every appropriate opportunity, including by taking action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record. Human Rights Defenders worldwide must be able to carry out their work safely and without fear.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much the Government (a) spent on mine action and mine clearance in each of the last three financial years and (b) plans to spend on mine action and mine clearance in each of the next three financial years.

From 2018 until 2020 the UK invested £124 million to help clear deadly explosive devices worldwide through the Global Mine Action Programme 2. In financial year 2018/19 we invested £28.8 million, in 2019/20 we invested £58.2 million and in 2020/21 we invested £37 million.

The Global Mine Action Programme 3 (GMAP3) is due to begin in 2022. It will involve landmine clearance and risk education to help affected communities keep safe, and capacity development for national authorities to help them manage their landmine contamination. We are working towards finalising funding and country allocation for GMAP3 for the next three years, as part of a broader effort to prioritise our aid to be more strategic and remain a force for good across the world.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation facing the Oromo people in Ethiopia.

We are concerned by incidences of ethnic violence in Ethiopia including in the Oromia region, and especially on the Oromo border with the Amhara region. The Government of Ethiopia, regional governments and community leaders on all sides must be clear that they do not support ethnic-based violence and discrimination, and on the importance of respecting human rights and safeguarding human life. The Foreign Secretary and I have both raised the importance of respect for human rights - I did so most recently with the Minister of Peace in July. The elections of 21 June also took place in challenging and problematic conditions with a restricted political environment, including the detention of opposition members, harassment of media representatives and parties facing difficulties in freely campaigning. We call on the government and all stakeholders in Ethiopian society to ensure that a meaningful, broad-based national dialogue process takes place and to commit to peaceful solutions. This is needed to enable Ethiopia's democratic development and to reduce conflict across the country.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of recent reductions in UK aid on the use of donated medicines in developing countries.

The UK government continues to be a major donor to international health organisations and programmes, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and COVAX, which fund essential medicines in developing countries. UK funded health programmes continue to strengthen health systems to deliver medicines to the most vulnerable people in some of the poorest countries in the world. Additionally, in June the Prime Minister pledged that the UK will share 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with developing countries within the next year of which 30 million will be delivered by the end of 2021. Throughout our investments, we support the safe handling and use of donated medicines in line with UK legislation and regulatory requirements and the requirements of recipient country governments.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Nigeria.

The UK Government follows developments on human rights in Nigeria closely. We are particularly concerned by the increase in criminal and terrorist violence across Nigeria, which is having an impact on the human rights of those affected, including the right to life. We are also concerned by allegations of serious human rights violations committed by the police and military, including those currently under investigation by the judicial panels of inquiry established following last year's #EndSARS protests. The Nigerian Government's recent decision to ban Twitter is also a troubling development, with an impact on Nigerians' freedom of expression.

Our position on human rights is firm: they are universal and must apply equally to all people. We regularly raise human rights with the Nigerian Government. I [Minister Duddridge] raised issues with the President's Chief of Staff, the Foreign Minister and the Governor of Lagos during my visit to Nigeria in April. We discussed rising insecurity and the importance of ensuring accountability for any human rights violations, including those being investigated by the #EndSARS judicial panels of inquiry. I [Minister Duddridge] have publicly expressed my concern about the recent Twitter ban. We will continue to stress the importance of protecting human rights for all Nigerians, and will continue to support efforts to improve human rights compliance and conditions in Nigeria.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether following the execution in Saudi Arabia of Mustafa Hashem al-Darwish who was sentenced to death for protest-related crimes committed as a child, he will make representations to the Saudi authorities on behalf of nine other young men facing execution for childhood crimes, including Abdullah al-Howaiti.

The United Kingdom strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. The Saudi authorities are aware of the UK Government's strong position on such cases. We reiterated our opposition to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September 2020. On 24 May 2021, during my [Mr Cleverly] visit to Saudi Arabia, I discussed the death penalty, including those charged with conducting crimes as minors, with the President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Dr Awwad Alawwad. Our Embassy in Riyadh has raised our concern over the cases of Mustafa al Darwish and Abdullah al Howaiti.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of reported killings and human rights abuses in Oromo in Ethiopia.

We are concerned by frequent incidences of ethnic violence and protests in Ethiopia including in the Oromia region, and especially on the Oromo border with the Amhara region. Regional Presidents and community leaders on all sides must be clear that they do not support ethnic-based violence and discrimination, and on the importance of respecting human rights and safeguarding human life. The Foreign Secretary and I have both raised the importance of respect for human rights and the need for political dialogue. Following the elections of 21 June, we must now see further steps in a transition to more democratic governance in which all of Ethiopia's diverse population can fully engage.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make urgent representations to the Government of Pakistan to halt the planned execution of Mr Abdul Rehman scheduled for 25 May 2021.

We understand that a stay of execution has been issued in Mr Rehman's case. We will continue to monitor the case closely.

It is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. The UK has raised at the highest level with the Government of Pakistan its concerns about specific cases and continues to urge Pakistan to ensure due process and adherence to international obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will review the Government's position on recognising the massacre of Armenian people in 1915 as genocide in response to the recent decision of the US Administration to make that recognition.

The events of 1915-1916 were a tragic episode in the history of the Armenian people and they must never be forgotten. The UK Government of the day condemned the massacres and this Government fully endorses that view. The longstanding policy of the UK Government is that any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for competent courts, rather than for governments.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the reported civilian casualties resulting from the recent airstrikes on Gaza.

The Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and to Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador and Palestinian Head of Mission in London to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm.

All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties. We continue to call upon Hamas and other terrorist groups to permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable. Our priority now must be an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to the killing of civilians.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of (a) whether Eritrean troops have withdrawn from Tigray and (b) the humanitarian situation in Tigray.

Eritrea's role in the Ethiopian conflict, including the continued presence of its armed forces, is particularly concerning. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately, as I [Minister Duddridge] made clear to the Eritrean Ambassador on 16 March, and we also set out in our joint statement with the G7 on 2 April. There are numerous reports of atrocities involving Eritrean forces, and the presence of Eritrean forces is fuelling insecurity. We are closely monitoring the situation and are clear that their withdrawal must be swift, unconditional and verifiable. We have yet to see any evidence that Eritrean forces are leaving Tigray in line with the commitment made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy in his announcement on 26 March and will continue pressing for this commitment to be delivered.

The humanitarian situation in Tigray is poor. Basic services have collapsed and the humanitarian response is hampered by poor security and access. The UK has been consistent in calling for the protection of civilians in Ethiopia, unfettered humanitarian access, and respect for human rights. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are delivering support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Tigray 4-5 March and 4-7 April. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, the Mayor of Mekelle, the Interim Head of Administration in Shire and with humanitarian agencies working in the region. They spoke directly to people displaced by violence and heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations. The team also saw UK Aid work in action and learned of the challenges across Tigray.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the threat to Christians following killings in Nigeria.

The UK Government condemns all violence against civilians in Nigeria, irrespective of religion. In the North East of the country, terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, continue to cause immense suffering to both Muslim and Christian communities, including during recent attacks. These groups seek to undermine the right to freedom of religion or belief by indiscriminately attacking those of all faiths who do not subscribe to their extremist views. The UK Government is providing a comprehensive package of humanitarian and stabilisation assistance to support communities affected by the conflict.

Intercommunal violence across multiple states, including in the Middle Belt, also has a devastating impact on both Christian and Muslim communities. The underlying drivers of violence are complex, and frequently relate to competition over resources and increasing criminality. On 15 February, I [Minister Duddridge] tweeted my concerns about intercommunal violence and welcomed President Buhari's renewed commitment to protect all religious and ethnic groups in the country. On 26 and 27 April I [Minister Duddridge] met with a range of Nigerian interlocutors, including Governors from some of Nigeria's northern states, and Nigerian Government representatives, including the Foreign Minister. I [Minister Duddridge] raised the need for all communities to be protected amidst increasing insecurity. The British High Commissioner also regularly raises concerns over rising insecurity across Nigeria with the Federal Government. We will continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to protect all communities, and to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made a recent assessment of the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention.

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children.

We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children. We remain concerned about Israel's extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes this absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding children in detention.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of UK citizens living in Spain who (a) have not applied for resident status and (b) may be required to return to the UK as result of not having obtained that status.

Statistics from the Spanish government show that up to 31 December 2020, 381,448 UK nationals held a valid residence document in Spain. As Spain is operating a declaratory system under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals and their family members who were lawfully resident before the end of the transition period do not need to apply for a new residence status to secure protection under the Withdrawal Agreement. This is because their rights are conferred automatically by operation of the law.

While it is not a prerequisite to having status under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals are encouraged to obtain the new residence document (Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjero) to evidence their rights. Pending the issuance of a new residence document, existing residence documents or other forms of proof can be used to evidence status under the Withdrawal Agreement. Up to 9 December 2020, 74,400 UK nationals in Spain had applied for the new resident document and 47,000 new residence documents had been issued.

The Spanish government has been clear that it has no plans to deport UK nationals who have made Spain their home. However, UK nationals present in Spain who do not fall within scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law or Spain's domestic immigration rules will not have a legal basis to live in Spain. The Spanish government has confirmed they will take a pragmatic and proportionate approach towards ensuring that UK nationals who are required to return to the UK, do so in accordance with Spanish immigration rules.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to follow the steps taken by the EU and add 19 further names to the UK's Venezuelan sanction list.

Sanctions are a useful tool for furthering our broader Venezuela policy. They help encourage democratic change by keeping pressure on the regime, targeting illicit finance and calling out human rights abuses. The UK introduced its autonomous Venezuela sanctions regime on 1 January 2021 transposing the existing 36 EU Venezuelan sanctions into English law. We will consider the introduction of further designations in support of UK policy but it would not be appropriate to speculate publicly on potential designations.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his counterpart in Pakistan on the arrest of UK citizen, Mr Yousuf Ali Khan in that country on 13 February 2021.

The British High Commission in Islamabad is providing consular assistance to Mr Khan, and is in touch with his family, his lawyer and the Pakistani authorities about his detention. On 5 March our High Commissioner to Pakistan raised Mr Khan's case with the Government of Pakistan. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, consular staff in Pakistan are not currently conducting in-person visits to British Nationals in custody. However, our High Commission has requested consular telephone access to Mr Khan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made any representations to the Government of Rwanda on the arrest of Idamange Yvonne and Innocent Bahati.

The UK Government is aware that Idamange Yvonne was arrested on 15 February and remains in detention in Rwanda. We are monitoring her case closely, including observing proceedings at her court hearings. We are also aware of reports of the disappearance of Innocent Bahati, who remains missing, in February. Through the British High Commission in Kigali, the UK Government is following developments. We call on the Government of Rwanda to ensure that due process is followed for all those in detention. We continue to urge Rwanda to uphold and champion Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, and to recognise that civil society and opposition figures must be able to operate freely in Rwanda, holding the Government to account and contributing to the debate on how the country should be governed.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has to his Turkish counterpart on reported threats to Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu MP.

We are aware of reports of threats being made against Mr Gergerlioğlu, MP for the People's Democratic Party (HDP). We have made it clear to Turkey that we expect the government to undertake any legal processes or actions against opposition parties, MPs, party officials, elected mayors, human rights defenders and journalists, fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law.

We will continue to engage closely with Turkey to encourage the full protection of fundamental rights of all peoples, regardless of their legitimate political affiliations, particularly in the area of freedom of expression and assembly, press freedom and the treatment of detainees. We note that Turkey adopted a national human rights action plan on 2 March 2021. We welcome this positive development and we encourage the Turkish government to ensure its swift implementation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to send surplus vaccine doses to Vietnam.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the majority of any surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses in the UK's supply will be shared with COVAX. As the multilateral facility responsible for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to ensure global equitable access, it is right that COVAX decide how the vaccines that are provided to it can best be allocated to meet need and to ensure effectiveness and fairness.

The Right Honourable Member for Leeds South's reference to Vietnam reflects the wider importance of global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This has been a central part of the government's international response to the pandemic. In addition to committing to sharing our surplus doses with COVAX, we have contributed £548m towards the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which provides access to vaccines to the 92 most vulnerable economies. Vietnam is eligible for vaccines through the Advance Market Commitment and I [Minister Adams] am pleased to report it has been initially allocated over 4.8m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, with a delivery target of the second quarter of this year. While the progress made by COVAX is a significant achievement, we are clear this is just a start and the Government will continue to work with our international partners to ensure a strong and effective global response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if we will ask the Israeli Government for compensation or restitution for the destruction of UK-funded humanitarian aid structures in the occupied West Bank.

Whilst we have not discussed the issue of compensation with the Israeli Authorities, the UK regularly raises demolitions with the Government of Israel. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian and humanitarian structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to introduce targeted sanctions against military business enterprises in Myanmar, in response to the military coup.

The UK is looking at a range of measures to ensure the democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar are respected. Last week we imposed immediate asset freezes and travel bans against three members of the Myanmar military regime for their role in serious human rights violations during the coup. We will continue to work closely with international partners on next steps, this includes exploring further sanctions. The UK has imposed sanctions on 16 individuals responsible for human rights violations in Myanmar, including the Commander in Chief and his Deputy.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports that Nawaf al-Osaimi is facing imminent execution in Saudi Arabia for a crime committed as a teenager, if he will ask the Government of Saudi Arabia (a) not to execute Nawaf al-Osaimi and (b) to conduct a full investigation into the (i) juvenility of that person at the time of the crime and (ii) compliance of his capital trial with fair trial guarantees.

The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. This is especially the case for juveniles. This is in line with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. We reiterated our opposition to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September.

We regularly raise our concerns about the use of the death penalty, including individual cases with the Saudi Arabian authorities and we will continue to do so. In August, our Chargé d'affaires in Riyadh raised the issue of the death penalty with Minister of State Al Jubeir. I raised the death penalty with Dr Awwad al Awwad, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission during his virtual visit in July

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Indian counterpart (a) on the alleged torture of Jagtar Singh Johal and (b) calling for his release; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government takes all allegations of human rights violations very seriously and raises concerns with the local authorities where appropriate. We regularly raise Mr Johal's case directly with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture, his right to a fair trial, and concerns about delays to legal proceedings against him. The Foreign Secretary raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on 15 December 2020. The Secretary of State for International Trade raised the case with the Indian Minister for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on 5 February. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, last raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner on 28 January 2021, and with the Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on 3 November 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to increase the UK's financial support for education in the upcoming replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education.

The Prime Minister and President Kenyatta of Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit: Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in London in July 2021. The UK is GPE's largest bilateral donor. No decision has yet been taken on the UK's next contribution to GPE and details will follow in due course.

As co-hosts of the Summit we are using all the means at our disposal to help the Global Partnership for Education secure its five-year financing target of up to $5 billion (2021-2026), in line with our commitment to stand up for the right of every girl around the world to gain 12 years of quality education.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to the Government of Myanmar calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The UK has made representations at the highest level within Myanmar to encourage all sides to resolve disputes in a peaceful and legal manner that respects the results of the November 2020 general election and accepts the expressed wishes of the people of Myanmar. The Minister for Asia formally summoned the Myanmar Ambassador on 1 February and stressed that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and others who had been arbitrarily detained should be released. We have used our Presidencies of both the G7 and the UN Security Council to secure strong statements which re-iterated these points.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his international counterparts on the release of Selehattin Demirtas former co-President of the HDP who has been in detention in Turkey since 2016.

We regularly raise human rights issues with the Turkish authorities. I did so in December 2020 with my Turkish counterpart. We remain concerned about the four-year imprisonment of Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), in Turkey. With our international partners, we call on Turkey to meet its obligations as a founding member of the Council of Europe and release Demirtaş from his extended pre-trial detention. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will supervise the implementation of the judgment in Demirtaş (No.2) v Turkey, a process in which the United Kingdom actively participates. Working with our international partners, we will continue to encourage Turkey, including at Ministerial level, to act in line with the conventions of the Council of Europe and to make greater progress on wider human rights reforms.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the reported demolition by the Government of Israel of a donor-funded water network serving 700 Palestinians during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK regularly raises demolitions with the Government of Israel. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised his concerns about demolitions of Palestinian and humanitarian structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on the demolition of structures provided as humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank.

The UK regularly raises demolitions with the Government of Israel. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised his concerns about demolitions of Palestinian and humanitarian structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation of the Uighur people in China in respect of reports of rape, torture and forced sterilisation.

The 3 February BBC report into this issue offers deeply distressing testimony of the rape, torture and dehumanisation of Uyghur women in Xinjiang detention centres. It is a further, compelling addition to the growing body of evidence of the gross human rights violations being perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang. The Government is committed to taking robust action in respect of Xinjiang. That is why, on 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in the region. The UK has played, and will continue to play, a leading role in building international pressure on China to change course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to his Answer of 26 January 2021 to Question 138871, which of the UK’s European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates have received contact from UK nationals regarding disruption at the Schengen border since 1 January 2021.

As the Government has stated, fewer than 200 UK nationals have contacted our European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates regarding disruption at the Schengen border since 1 January 2021. Enquiries have been received regarding Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy and Malta. The Government has worked to resolve this disruption by raising concerns with the European Commission, as well as engaging bilaterally with Member States and carriers. The steps taken by the Government have resulted in a reduction in enquiries. We are continuing to monitor the situation, to ensure that UK nationals' rights are upheld across the EU.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 26 January 2021 to Question 138871, if the UK Government will raise the matter of UK nationals with residence rights in the EU protected by the Withdrawal Agreement being refused entry at the Schengen border since 1 January 2021 at the next meeting of the Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights; and when that meeting is scheduled to take place.

The Government is committed to upholding the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. The Government is monitoring the situation at the Schengen border closely and is in regular contact with the EU and Member States to ensure the correct rules are applied. The Government will continue to hold the EU to account for the correct implementation and application of the Citizens' Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes through the Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights.

The UK and the EU have agreed that the Committee will meet regularly throughout 2021 and the next meeting has been scheduled to take place in February.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether Eritrean troops (a) are currently and (b) have been involved in the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

We are concerned by involvement of Eritrean forces in hostilities throughout the Tigray region of Ethiopia and the growing weight of credible evidence of their involvement in human rights violations. We have raised our concerns with Ministers in both governments, making clear the overriding need to protect civilians and adhere to international law and international human rights law. We continue to call for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses and violations, and that the perpetrators of those incidents that are proven are held to account, whoever they may be.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; and how much assistance the UK is providing to the region.

We remain concerned about the impact of the continued fighting in Tigray on both the humanitarian situation and on wider stability in Ethiopia and beyond. We continue to urge both parties to bring an end to fighting, prioritise the protection of civilians and allow unfettered humanitarian access. The Foreign Secretary raised these points when he met with Prime Minister Abiy on 22 January and also pressed for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray.

The UK is working closely with humanitarian organisations to make sure aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting. The Foreign Secretary visited Gondar on 22 January and saw first-hand how £11m of UK Aid is supporting the World Food Programme and NGOs to ensure the delivery of aid to those affected by the conflict. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in challenging circumstances, including shelter, water and healthcare. We continue to work with the UN to promote and monitor access and the delivery of humanitarian support to all those who need it, including to civilians in contested areas.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the human rights situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; and what representations he has made to the Government of Ethiopia on that situation.

We are deeply concerned at the mounting evidence of human rights abuses and violations. All parties to the conflict must respect human rights and avoid civilian loss of life at all costs. We have raised our concerns with Ethiopian Ministers, making clear the overriding need to protect civilians and adhere to international law and international human rights law. We continue to call for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses and violations, and unfettered access to Tigray - points the Foreign Secretary discussed with Prime Minister Abiy in Addis Ababa on 22 January. We also continue to call for the perpetrators of those incidents that are proven to be held to account, whoever they may be. We will continue to make this point in upcoming conversations with the Government of Ethiopia.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what guidance his Department has provided to UK airlines on the documentation required by a UK national resident in the EU to board a flight to an EU destination after 1 January 2021.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation closely and is liaising with the EU, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. Following the end of the transition period, new rules for the treatment of UK nationals at the Schengen border came into effect. UK nationals and their family members, protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, should be allowed to enter the EU provided they present documentary evidence of residence in the EU before the end of the transition period. They should be allowed to enter the EU without having their passport stamped, being subject to routine intentions questioning or being required to prove sufficient means of subsistence.

The Government has written to UK airlines regarding compliance with the new rules and documentation that should be accepted. This includes any document that credibly evidences status under the Withdrawal Agreement, including a residence permit; a certificate of application; a frontier worker permit or other documents that include an address in the EU. Those who present this evidence to airlines, along with a valid travel document, should be allowed to board and enter the EU, including Member States other than the country of residence for transit purposes. The International Air Transport Association's (IATA) TIMATIC service is also providing this information to airlines. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also established a dedicated contact route, on gov.uk, for UK nationals encountering disruption at the Schengen border.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what information his Department holds on the number of UK nationals who have not been allowed to board a flight from a UK airport to a destination in the EU since 1 January 2021 as a result of the airline not believing the passenger had the required documentation showing their right of residence in an EU Member State.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation closely and is liaising with the EU, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. Following the end of the transition period, new rules for the treatment of UK nationals at the Schengen border came into effect. UK nationals and their family members, protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, should be allowed to enter the EU provided they present documentary evidence of residence in the EU before the end of the transition period. They should be allowed to enter the EU without having their passport stamped, being subject to routine intentions questioning or being required to prove sufficient means of subsistence.

The Government has written to UK airlines regarding compliance with the new rules and documentation that should be accepted. This includes any document that credibly evidences status under the Withdrawal Agreement, including a residence permit; a certificate of application; a frontier worker permit or other documents that include an address in the EU. Those who present this evidence to airlines, along with a valid travel document, should be allowed to board and enter the EU, including Member States other than the country of residence for transit purposes. The International Air Transport Association's (IATA) TIMATIC service is also providing this information to airlines. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also established a dedicated contact route, on gov.uk, for UK nationals encountering disruption at the Schengen border.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many UK nationals have contacted a UK Embassy after having been refused entry at the Schengen border since 1 January 2021.

The Government is aware of disruption at the Schengen border experienced by a relatively small number of UK nationals living in the EU since 1 January 2021. The Government is monitoring the situation closely and actively working with the European Commission, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. The EU has also confirmed that UK nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and their family members are exempt from the EU's temporary restrictions on non-essential travel due to Covid-19 and have a right to enter, exit and transit within the EU.

We have raised concerns with the European Commission who have reminded border authorities across EU Member States that are part of Schengen to comply with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and guidance in the Schengen handbook. An English version of the guidance was made available to border authorities in Member States on 4 December 2020 and in all other languages on 23 December 2020. The handbook lists the documents that should be accepted as proof of status under the Withdrawal Agreement and includes guidance on other evidence that can be accepted, provided it credibly evidences residence in the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are also actively engaging bilaterally with Member States via our network of Embassies and High Commissions, and through their missions in London, reiterating the need for compliance and clear communication with their carriers. Since 1 January, less than 200 UK nationals have contacted our European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates regarding this disruption and the steps taken by the Government have resulted in a reduction in enquiries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) Governments of EU member states on UK nationals with residence rights in the EU protected by the Withdrawal Agreement being refused entry at the Schengen border since 1 January 2021.

The Government is aware of disruption at the Schengen border experienced by a relatively small number of UK nationals living in the EU since 1 January 2021. The Government is monitoring the situation closely and actively working with the European Commission, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. The EU has also confirmed that UK nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and their family members are exempt from the EU's temporary restrictions on non-essential travel due to Covid-19 and have a right to enter, exit and transit within the EU.

We have raised concerns with the European Commission who have reminded border authorities across EU Member States that are part of Schengen to comply with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and guidance in the Schengen handbook. An English version of the guidance was made available to border authorities in Member States on 4 December 2020 and in all other languages on 23 December 2020. The handbook lists the documents that should be accepted as proof of status under the Withdrawal Agreement and includes guidance on other evidence that can be accepted, provided it credibly evidences residence in the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are also actively engaging bilaterally with Member States via our network of Embassies and High Commissions, and through their missions in London, reiterating the need for compliance and clear communication with their carriers. Since 1 January, less than 200 UK nationals have contacted our European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates regarding this disruption and the steps taken by the Government have resulted in a reduction in enquiries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission on whether UK nationals with rights of residence in the EU protected by the Withdrawal Agreement are exempt from EU temporary travel restrictions resulting from covid-19, in order to (a) travel to their country of residence and (b) transit through an EU Member State in order to reach their country of residence.

The Government is aware of disruption at the Schengen border experienced by a relatively small number of UK nationals living in the EU since 1 January 2021. The Government is monitoring the situation closely and actively working with the European Commission, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. The EU has also confirmed that UK nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and their family members are exempt from the EU's temporary restrictions on non-essential travel due to Covid-19 and have a right to enter, exit and transit within the EU.

We have raised concerns with the European Commission who have reminded border authorities across EU Member States that are part of Schengen to comply with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and guidance in the Schengen handbook. An English version of the guidance was made available to border authorities in Member States on 4 December 2020 and in all other languages on 23 December 2020. The handbook lists the documents that should be accepted as proof of status under the Withdrawal Agreement and includes guidance on other evidence that can be accepted, provided it credibly evidences residence in the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are also actively engaging bilaterally with Member States via our network of Embassies and High Commissions, and through their missions in London, reiterating the need for compliance and clear communication with their carriers. Since 1 January, less than 200 UK nationals have contacted our European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates regarding this disruption and the steps taken by the Government have resulted in a reduction in enquiries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission on whether the Schengen Border handbook lists the documents that each Member State accepts as proof of residence from 1 January 2021; and when the latest edition of the Schengen Border handbook was made available to border officials in all EU Member States.

The Government is aware of disruption at the Schengen border experienced by a relatively small number of UK nationals living in the EU since 1 January 2021. The Government is monitoring the situation closely and actively working with the European Commission, Member States and carriers to ensure the correct rules are applied. The EU has also confirmed that UK nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and their family members are exempt from the EU's temporary restrictions on non-essential travel due to Covid-19 and have a right to enter, exit and transit within the EU.

We have raised concerns with the European Commission who have reminded border authorities across EU Member States that are part of Schengen to comply with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and guidance in the Schengen handbook. An English version of the guidance was made available to border authorities in Member States on 4 December 2020 and in all other languages on 23 December 2020. The handbook lists the documents that should be accepted as proof of status under the Withdrawal Agreement and includes guidance on other evidence that can be accepted, provided it credibly evidences residence in the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are also actively engaging bilaterally with Member States via our network of Embassies and High Commissions, and through their missions in London, reiterating the need for compliance and clear communication with their carriers. Since 1 January, less than 200 UK nationals have contacted our European network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates regarding this disruption and the steps taken by the Government have resulted in a reduction in enquiries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Iranian authorities calling for the release of Anoosheh Ashoori.

Securing the release of the dual British nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran, including Anoosheh Ashoori, is one of this Government's top priorities. Their welfare is our key concern. The Foreign Secretary regularly raises the detained dual British nationals with Foreign Minister Zarif. Our Ambassador to Tehran discusses them at every opportunity with his Iranian counterparts, most recently with Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi on 30 December.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he has made representations to his Indian counterpart on the farmers' protests in that country.

The Foreign Secretary discussed protests about agricultural reforms with his Indian counterpart during his visit to India in December, whilst making it clear that the handling of protests is an internal matter for the Indian authorities. The right to gather lawfully and demonstrate a point of view is common to all democracies. Governments also have the power to enforce law and order if a protest crosses the line into illegality.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of (a) the implications for his policies of recent violence and (b) the human rights situation in the Oromia region of Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is concerned by the violence in the Tigray region and the risk it poses to civilians, and by reports of ethnically-motivated attacks both within Tigray and elsewhere in Ethiopia. We are also concerned about the risk these events pose to Ethiopia's overall political stability and its democratic transition, of which the UK has been supportive. The Foreign Secretary spoke with Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November and called for the immediate de-escalation of violence, for the protection of civilians and for unfettered humanitarian access. He reiterated these messages when he met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke on 25 November.

Oromia and Amhara have also seen violent clashes in recent months. I condemned the killing of Amharan civilians on 1 November in Oromia. I visited Ethiopia from 27-29 July and discussed growing ethnic tensions with the President and senior ministers, as well as the President of Oromia. The UK is committed to supporting a peaceful political transition in Ethiopia where all the rights of minorities are protected. We will continue to monitor closely the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Uganda on the recent arrest of the Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi and the subsequent violence in that country.

The UK Government is deeply concerned by the violence during protests in Kampala and other cities in Uganda following the arrest of Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi (also known as Bobi Wine) on 18 November. Tragically, lives have been lost and our thoughts are with the families of all those affected. On 20 November, I issued a tweet that called for all parties to reject violence, work to de-escalate the situation and to respect the rights of all Ugandans to express their views in a peaceful manner.

We continue to call on Uganda to guarantee freedoms enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution. At the UN Security Council on 13 October, we called on the Government of Uganda to ensure elections in January 2021 are peaceful, free and fair. The British High Commissioner in Kampala has also raised the importance of free and fair elections and respect for human rights directly with senior Government Ministers and will continue to do so. The UK calls on all governments to ensure any restrictions put in place to protect public health are necessary, proportionate and time-limited, and do not undermine the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Tigray as a result of the conflict in that region; and whether the UK is providing any humanitarian assistance to people affected by that conflict.

The UK is concerned by the ongoing violence in the Tigray region and the risks these events pose to civilian lives. The UN preparedness response plan estimates that 1.98m people could be affected by violence in Tigray and neighbouring states. This number includes a caseload of 885,000 people that already rely on humanitarian support plus a further, additional caseload of 1.1m people that are likely to be exposed to violence many of whom may be displaced from their homes and communities. We are contributing to UN-led planning efforts for Tigray and have called on all involved to ensure the protection of civilians, and to restore humanitarian access to allow the delivery of aid and essential services. I reiterated this in my tweet of 19 November and when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador in London on 18 November.

We are in close contact with UK-funded humanitarian agencies working in Tigray to understand humanitarian needs and what programme adaptations are required, as well as monitoring the regional situation, with over 30,000 refugees fleeing to Sudan. In Ethiopia, the UK provides funds to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund, to provide food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation, health, nutrition and protection support. In Sudan, flexible UK funding to WFP and the UNHCR is already helping new refugees from Ethiopia to receive emergency assistance, including shelter and food. These agencies have proven themselves capable of working in high risk contexts, in Ethiopia and elsewhere, and for managing UK funds adeptly.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; and whether he has made representations to the parties involved.

The UK is concerned by the ongoing violence between federal and regional forces in the Tigray region and the risk it poses to civilians, and by reports of ethnically-motivated attacks. We are gravely concerned at Amnesty International's report of killings of civilians on 9 November; we call for transparency and accountability to be delivered for such incidents. The Foreign Secretary called Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November to raise our concerns and stress the urgent need to prioritise the protection of civilian lives, restore services (including banks and telecommunications) and enable humanitarian access. He also urged for a de-escalation of violence and called for moves to political dialogue. On 18 November, I reinforced this message with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK. The British Ambassador to Ethiopia and other officials also continue to reinforce these messages at the highest levels and we continue to engage regional and wider international partners to push for swift de-escalation of the situation.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Pakistani counterpart on plans to build a Hindu Temple in Islamabad; and if he will make a statement.

We are monitoring the situation around the construction of the Shri Krishna Mandir temple in Islamabad closely. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan, including against the Hindu community. Our High Commission in Islamabad frequently engages with the Hindu community to understand their needs. We engage at a senior level with the Pakistani Government on our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and the mistreatment of religious and ethnic groups. Most recently, the Minister of State for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised concerns on FoRB and the protection of minority religious communities with Dr Shireen Mazari, Pakistan's Human Right Minister, on 15 July. The UK High Commissioner to Pakistan raised the same concerns with Dr Mazari on 8 June. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens, regardless of their belief, in accordance with international standards.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has received representations on the Australian Border Agency and the ability of UK citizens with residency to leave that country; and if he will make a statement.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Australian Foreign Minister Payne on 21 May and 15 July to discuss our COVID-19 response, travel advice and other international issues. They agreed to work together to keep international routes open, as part of our wider efforts to help our respective nationals return home. The Government of Australia has set out guidance for residents wishing to leave including where exemptions are available. The British High Commission in Canberra and our network of consulates across Australia continue to support British nationals, seeking to come to the UK, including those with residency in Australia.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make urgent representations to the Government of Bahrain opposing the death sentences on (a) Mohammed Ramadhan and (b) Hussain Moosa.

We are concerned by the death sentences handed to Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa. We continue to raise both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We continue to monitor their case, as it is taken to the Court of Cassation for final review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government supports the annexation of parts of the West Bank by the Government of Israel.

As we made clear at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 23 April, we are concerned by reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law. The Prime Minister reiterated our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory during a call with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on 6 February.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, what discussion he has had with the Government of Gibraltar on 14 day quarantine restrictions for people arriving in the UK from that territory.

We are in regular contact with the Government of Gibraltar to discuss these measures.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, whether he plans to require travellers from Gibraltar to the UK to observe a 14-day quarantine period.

The UK plans a number of changes in arrangements at the UK border to protect the gains we have made in our fight against the virus. We will announce further details in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, which EU member states will be served by each of the seven organisations that have been awarded the £3 million in funding to provide practical support to UK nationals living in the EU.

The UK Nationals Support Fund (UKNSF) aims to provide practical support to UK nationals living in EU/EFTA states who may struggle to complete their residency applications. Seven organisations have been awarded grants to deliver the project. These are: Age in Spain, operating in Spain; AIRE Centre, operating in Bulgaria, Greece, Iceland and Norway; Asociación Babelia, operating in Spain; CIFSA, operating in Cyprus; Franco-British Network, operating in France; International Organisation for Migration, operating in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain; and SSAFA, operating in Cyprus, France and Germany. In some countries, organisations will focus on specific regions, particularly those with high numbers of UK nationals. Bids were assessed and selected through a transparent and open competition, based on a set of clear evaluation criteria. We did not receive bids for every EU/EFTA state. The extra assistance through the UKNSF builds on the information and support that British embassies are already providing in all EU/EFTA states.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Cameroon; and whether he has made representations to his Cameroonian counterpart on reports of the killing of civilians in Ngarbuh village on 14 February 2020.

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 19 February, I issued a statement about the appalling attacks on 14 February in Ngarbuh and called for an urgent and transparent investigation so that the perpetrators can be held accountable.

We welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. This was a welcome initial step forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns on human rights at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK continues to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and urges the Government of Cameroon to engage with all international partners, to bring peace and stability to the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his (a) Russian and (b) Syrian counterpart on the humanitarian effect of the bombing of Idlib.

We are deeply concerned by the humanitarian impact of the ongoing offensive by Syrian regime and Russian forces in Idlib. We are using our position in the UN Security Council to call on Russia and the regime to end the offensive and to respect previously agreed ceasefires in Idlib and their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. We have had no diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime since 2012, and therefore have made no representations to the Syrian regime. We continue to express our concerns to Russia. Most recently, officials raised this with the Russian Embassy in London on 4 February.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of Human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, published on 5 July 2019, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in that country.

The United Kingdom remains alarmed at the deteriorating human rights situation in Venezuela. Actions of the Maduro regime have led to social and economic collapse and millions of misplaced people including many refugees, to neighbouring countries threatening regional stability and security. It is a man-made humanitarian crisis exacerbated by years of economic mismanagement, hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, and very serious human rights violations.

As a member of the Human Rights Council, Venezuela has a duty to uphold the highest standards of human rights and cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms. The United Kingdom will continue to support the work done by the Human Rights Council in Venezuela, and is committed to supporting a broad human rights agenda in the country.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will place in the Library any impact assessment undertaken on the recommissioning of the Money and Pension Service debt advice service.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) assesses debt advice demand and makes decisions about advice provision. MaPS’s statutory responsibilities include the need to consider the most vulnerable in its decision-making.

The Government cannot comment in detail on an ongoing commercial tendering process. However, the MaPS-led recommissioning exercise is expected to materially increase the amount of debt advice available to people in England, and ensure services – including face-to-face provision – are built around customers’ needs. The exercise is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the number of face to face debt advisers who will be available for appointments with clients after the proposed recommissioning of the Money and Pension Service debt advice service in 2022, compared to the current number of advisers.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) assesses debt advice demand and makes decisions about advice provision. MaPS’s statutory responsibilities include the need to consider the most vulnerable in its decision-making.

The Government cannot comment in detail on an ongoing commercial tendering process. However, the MaPS-led recommissioning exercise is expected to materially increase the amount of debt advice available to people in England, and ensure services – including face-to-face provision – are built around customers’ needs. The exercise is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the number of face to face debt advice appointments that will be available to people in England after the proposed recommissioning of the Money and Pension Service debt advice service compared to the number of those appointments currently available.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) assesses debt advice demand and makes decisions about advice provision. MaPS’s statutory responsibilities include the need to consider the most vulnerable in its decision-making.

The Government cannot comment in detail on an ongoing commercial tendering process. However, the MaPS-led recommissioning exercise is expected to materially increase the amount of debt advice available to people in England, and ensure services – including face-to-face provision – are built around customers’ needs. The exercise is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he made of demand for face to face debt advice when recommissioning the debt advice service of the Money and Pensions Service.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) assesses debt advice demand and makes decisions about advice provision. MaPS’s statutory responsibilities include the need to consider the most vulnerable in its decision-making.

The Government cannot comment in detail on an ongoing commercial tendering process. However, the MaPS-led recommissioning exercise is expected to materially increase the amount of debt advice available to people in England, and ensure services – including face-to-face provision – are built around customers’ needs. The exercise is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to extend the stamp duty land tax holiday to people who have been unable to sell their flats as a result of unsafe cladding.

The temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax relief concluded on 30 September 2021. The Government does not currently have any plans to reintroduce the relief for properties with fire safety concerns.

The temporary relief was designed to create immediate momentum in the property market, in turn supporting jobs which rely on custom from the property industry, such as retailers and tradespeople.

The Government is investing over £5 billion in building safety, including an additional £3.5 billion announced in February by the Housing Secretary for the remediation of unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in high rise residential buildings.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will list the forms and documents that companies based in the EU exporting to the UK have to complete when sending their goods into the UK.

When importing goods into the UK, traders (or their representatives) will generally need to complete a customs declaration. Most customs declarations are made electronically.

Depending upon the type of goods and whether the goods are entering free-circulation or another customs procedure, other information, documents and licences may be needed. Full details of these requirements are available in HMRC guidance.

Until 31 December 2021 most importers of non-controlled goods from the EU can delay the submission of their customs declarations for up to 175 days after import if they wish. The importer needs to record details of the import in their commercial records and provide their Economic Operators Registration and Identification number to their haulier in case they need to demonstrate to UK port and border officials that they are importing goods using delayed declarations.

The management of EU export procedures and documentation is the responsibility of the customs authorities of EU Member States. It is important that companies based in the EU (or their representatives) confirm the processes at their port of departure and any conditions or procedures that may apply.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what checks goods coming into the UK from companies based in the EU are currently subject to.

The Government’s priority is to keep goods moving and avoid delays at the border. HMRC uses a risk based, intelligence-led response to compliance issues working alongside Border Force.

As the Government has made consistently clear, it will not compromise on the security of the UK at the border, and keeping goods flowing over the border is of vital importance.

HMRC, Border Force and other Government departments make targeted interventions. These are based on intelligence and threat assessment and will typically involve documentary checks and physical interventions, designed, wherever possible, to avoid delaying traffic flows across the border.

HMRC will continue to work closely with industry to ensure interventions are carried out in a way that minimises delays and additional burdens for legitimate trade, while robustly ensuring compliance.

The management of EU export procedures is the responsibility of the customs authorities of the Member States.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy is on the granting of new Special Drawing Rights to Belarus by the IMF.

We are considering all appropriate and effective means of constraining the finances of the Lukashenko regime. The UK has already made more than 100 sanctions designations in response to the fraudulent elections and subsequent human rights violations in Belarus and remains committed to taking action against those responsible for the continued suppression of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The IMF implemented a new general allocation of Special Drawing Rights on the 23 August. The unconditional nature of the SDR allocation means that Belarus will receive a new allocation in proportion to its quota share, consistent with the IMF’s Articles of Agreement. It is worth noting that IMF Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, are an international reserve asset and are not money or currency, though may be exchanged with other countries for currency through a system of Voluntary Trading Arrangements. The UK retains the right to refuse to purchase SDRs from any countries that we choose. The UK has driven G7 calls for the SDR allocation to be accompanied by transparency and accountability measures and updated IMF guidance on how countries should appropriately use their SDRs.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on UK citizens living overseas who do not have a UK mobile phone number of increased security measures by UK banks that require the possession of such a number.

Regulatory rules, known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), apply to UK banks and other UK payment service providers. These rules aim to improve security and reduce fraud by ensuring that the person requesting access to a payment account, or trying to make a payment, is either the payer or someone to whom they have given consent.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the SCA rules, and has the power to amend them, subject to Treasury approval.   The SCA rules do not require a UK mobile phone number to apply authentication, and the FCA has stated in published guidance that they encourage firms to consider the impact of their SCA solutions on different groups of customers as part of the design process.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) total number of applications made by businesses to the SME Brexit Support Fund, (b) number of grants that have been approved, and (c) total amount of funding in grants provided to date for each region of the UK.

As of 19 July 2021, 5,414 businesses completed applications for grants of up to £2,000. Of this number, 4,376 have been offered a grant.

A regional breakdown of the figures shows that businesses in England have been offered £5,862,213, in Scotland £387,387, in Wales £196,546 and in Northern Ireland £360,174.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the planned capacity of the White Cliffs inland border facility is in Dover; and when that facility will become operational.

HMRC are planning to be able to process up to 1,000 vehicles per day through their facility at Dover White Cliffs.

HMRC are currently working with their partners to build an end-to-end timeline and will confirm a date for the facility being operational in due course.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which of the covid-19 support measures he announced in the 2021 Budget will apply to English Language Schools; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has supported businesses, including English Language Schools, through the COVID-19 crisis through an unprecedented support package. The level of support for businesses continues to be tailored to reflect the changing circumstances.

The Budget confirms the continuation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in its current form until the end of June 2021. As the economy reopens and demand returns, the government will introduce employer contributions towards the cost of unworked hours until September 2021.

The Budget also announced the new Recovery Loan Scheme which will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million. The scheme will ensure that businesses in all parts of the UK can access the finance they need, including those who have already received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes.

The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.

I encourage English Language Schools to make full use of the extensive support available.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Leeds Central on complaint appeal 4720546844/244/CAD relating to the Valuation Office Agency.

The correspondence regarding appeal case 4720546844/244/CAD was transferred to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for reply on 15 January 2021. The VOA responded directly to the Honourable Member on 3 February, and a copy of the VOA’s response was resent on 2 March.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the total value of assets frozen to date is from UK sanctions applied on 16 Burmese security and military personnel.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) undertakes an annual review of frozen assets in the UK, requiring all persons or institutions that hold or control frozen assets in the UK to report to OFSI. Details of assets reported to OFSI in 2020 are not yet available and will be published in OFSI’s 2020-2021 Annual Review.

Details of assets reported to OFSI in 2019 were published in OFSI’s 2019-2020 Annual Review. As of September 2019, £12.5 billion of frozen funds across all regimes were reported to be held by UK institutions. This figure is provided on an aggregate basis so as not to disclose the value of funds held by particular individuals.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his Answer of 8 February to Question 148706, how many (a) applications and (b) successful applications for investment support have been made to the Future Fund scheme by firms located in (i) London, (ii) the South East and (iii) Yorkshire and the Humber.

The British Business Bank regularly publishes Future Fund data by location on its website. As of the 28th January, Future Fund applications data is as follows:

Total Number of Application

Number of Applications Approved To Date

Proportion of Application Approved To Date

London

939

606

65%

South East

181

122

67%

Yorkshire and the Humber

50

31

62%

The Future Fund uses a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria. Applications that meet all the eligibility criteria receive investment, irrespective of location.

The total number of applications includes those which were declined and withdrawn, and those applications which are still being considered.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much and what proportion of investment support has been provided under the Future Fund scheme to firms located in (a) London, (b) the South East and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber, to date .

Future Fund data, including the amount and proportion of investment made to the different regions and nations of the UK, is available on the British Business Bank website.

As of the latest update on the 28th January:

- £646.8m or 61% has been invested in London;

- £130.5m or 12% has been invested in the South East

- £30.6m or 3% has been invested in Yorkshire and the Humber

The Future Fund uses a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria. Applications that meet all the eligibility criteria receive investment, irrespective of location.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle scam calls claiming to be from HMRC alleging an unpaid tax bill and threatening arrest.

HMRC take protecting taxpayers seriously; as a result of recent work they have dropped from the third to 146th most phished brand in the world in the five years to 2019. This resulted in an increase in reports of fraudulent HMRC branded telephone calls. HMRC operate a suspicious telephone contact referral service on GOV.UK, provide a suspicious e-mail referral service at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, and a suspicious SMS referral service using the ‘60599’ SMS short code.

HMRC operates a dedicated Customer Protection team to prevent, detect and respond to frauds abusing the HMRC brand. HMRC work closely with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to block malicious phone numbers, and in the last 12 months, HMRC reported 2,687 phone numbers being used in tax-related phone scams to telecommunication companies to be taken down, and responded to more than 278,000 reports of telephone scams from the public.

Intelligence indicates these frauds are organised and conducted mainly outside of the UK jurisdiction, and HMRC are working with law enforcement and partner tax authorities nationally and internationally to reduce the harm from tax-branded voice scams.

HMRC support and lead UK investigations as appropriate. In July 2020, four individuals were arrested as part of an investigation into a suspected multi-million-pound phone scam targeting UK taxpayers. HM Revenue and Customs officers carried out searches at five addresses in East and West London on Tuesday 28 July. £10,000 in cash was seized along with a quantity of laptop and desktop computers, mobile phones and SIM cards.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to provide an emergency support package to protect (a) disabled people’s health and finances and (b) disabled children and their families during the covid-19 pandemic.

Like others, individuals with disabilities will benefit from the substantial level of financial support provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an injection of £7bn into the welfare system, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS has been extended until the end of April 2021. It is up to the employer to make the best decision for their organisation and their employees about whether to furlough staff. Standard discrimination law applies; an employer cannot decide who should be furloughed based on any protected characteristic.

However, if people with a protected characteristic disproportionately request furlough, it can be acceptable under the law for the use of furlough to be disproportionately higher in that group. Employers are encouraged to consult on the process with employees.

The Government also recognises the challenges presented by COVID-19 for all those who are living with a disability and are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. Individuals who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable may have access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals also have priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population and in line with the priority ordering set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The Government’s support package during the current pandemic sits alongside a substantial set of existing welfare support for individuals with disabilities. The Government will spend over £55 billion in 2020/21 on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. The Government has implemented a range of measures to make access to disability benefits easier and to protect existing claimants during the current situation. This includes temporarily suspending face to face assessments.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of transit guarantees; and if he will make a statement.

Businesses using transit regularly (more than three times a year) need to apply to HMRC for authorisation to use a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG). Most businesses authorised by HMRC to use a CCG for transit will need to provide a guarantee undertaking from an approved financial institution.

Most businesses applying for CCG authorisation are currently being approved by HMRC within 30 days. However, businesses need to allow additional time to obtain a guarantee from a financial institution and return this to HMRC. HMRC and HMT have been engaging regularly with banks about the provision of guarantees for transit users. Banks have not reported any problems or delays with the issuance of transit guarantees.

HMRC are monitoring the use of guarantees by all transit users in the UK and will be contacting any traders who are identified as having insufficient guarantees directly to support them in either managing or increasing their transit guarantee. CCG holders who wish to increase the value of their guarantee should request this by contacting the CCG Team at HMRC: customs-comprehensive-guarantee-team.ccto@hmrc.gov.uk.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including English language schools in the covid-19 Business Rates Relief scheme.

Business rates are administered by local government and it is for local authorities to determine eligibility for reliefs, having regard to guidance issued by the Government.

The Government understands the many areas of difficulty for businesses caused by the COVID-19 disruption and has introduced a number of measures to support businesses through this challenging period.

If any business is in a difficult position with regard to business rates bills, they are encouraged to contact their local authority to discuss whether other support may be available. A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available. Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

As set out at the Spending Review, in order to ensure that any decisions best meet the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19, the Government will outline plans for 2021-22 reliefs in due course.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend eligibility for the support available to the retail and leisure sectors to the English language school sector.

Business rates are administered by local government and it is for local authorities to determine eligibility for reliefs, having regard to guidance issued by the Government.

The Government understands the many areas of difficulty for businesses caused by the COVID-19 disruption and has introduced a number of measures to support businesses through this challenging period.

If any business is in a difficult position with regard to business rates bills, they are encouraged to contact their local authority to discuss whether other support may be available. A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available. Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

As set out at the Spending Review, in order to ensure that any decisions best meet the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19, the Government will outline plans for 2021-22 reliefs in due course.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to shift capital investment from road building to public transport; and if he will make a statement.

Investing in public transport is a vital part of delivering this Government’s ambitions on levelling up and net zero.

The PM committed £5 billion for buses and cycling in February alongside essential improvements to North-South connectivity through HS2, while Budget 2020 committed £4.2 billion for long-term intra-city transport settlements across eight elected Mayors outside London. Altogether this represents an unprecedented investment in local public transport.

Further details on investment plans will be set out by the Chancellor through the Spending Review on 25 November.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential exposure of banks in respect of buildings owned by banks that have flammable cladding.

HM Treasury would not routinely assess banks’ exposures to mortgages in the UK on properties with potentially combustible cladding.

Lenders account for exposures to potentially combustible cladding by developing their own policy based on a number of factors including their individual risk appetites and lending policies.

It is also worth noting that lenders have agreed that existing borrowers living in properties with potentially combustible cladding, who are not looking to borrow additional funds, should be able to arrange a product transfer with their existing lender.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what guidance his Department has issued to UK customers of British banks who are resident in the EU on the continued availability of their bank accounts after 1 January 2021.

Whether UK banks can service EEA-based customers is a matter of local law and regulation and may be impacted by how firms are set up, and what steps they have taken to continue to service customers. We expect banks to act lawfully and in accordance with local regulators’ expectations.

We also expect that banks work to ensure good outcomes for their customers and provide timely communications to them to enable them to make appropriate decisions and take necessary steps. If customers are concerned then they should speak to their provider.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether any trials have taken place of the proposed Goods Vehicle Movement Service IT system.

HMRC are co-developing delivery plans with carriers and operators. A virtualised test service has been in place since 31 August allowing carriers and operators to test their software against the HMRC specification. Service guides are available on the Developer Hub on GOV.UK, allowing hauliers, carriers and operators to access the specifications and understand the technical requirement ahead of physical testing. Technical discussions with carriers and operators to supplement this testing have started and will continue to 31 December.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will allow further education colleges access to borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board; and if he will make a statement.

Loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) should support Local Authorities to deliver services, build and maintain housing, and regenerate their local areas. Only Local Authorities have access to PWLB loans and HM Treasury has no plans to extend the provision of PWLB loans to other organisations.

At Budget 2020, the Government announced it will invest £1.5 billion (£1.8 billion including indicative Barnett consequentials) over five years in capital spending to refurbish Further Education colleges, of which £200m has been brought forward for spend in the current financial year. The Government has continued to pay grant funded providers their scheduled payments for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the value was of UK exports of (a) baton rounds, (b) tear gas and (c) small arms to the US in each of the last five years.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic: the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics.

The value of exports of handguns and revolvers to the United States in the last five years is set out in the table below. This is based on declared trade, so is not an estimate.

UK exports of handguns and revolvers (93020000) to the United States by value

Calendar Year

Trade Value (£)

2015

7,256

2016

47,890

2017

27,144

2018

7,770

2019

38,829

Data source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics

The trade data collected does not enable HMRC to distinguish exports of baton rounds from other ammunition and projectiles. The trade data collected also does not enable HMRC to distinguish exports of tear gas from other spring, air or gas guns and pistols or truncheons.

However, there is aggregated trade data available for the goods and periods requested on the “uktradeinfo” website, under “Build your own data tables”: https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Pages/Home.aspx. The site also contains a “Help” function for information on how to extract trade data.

Trade data relating to the value of all ammunition and projectiles can be searched for using commodity code 9306909000. Trade data relating to all spring, air and gas guns and pistols and truncheons exported to the US can be found using commodity code 9304000000.

13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people affected by NMC Health Plc going into administration.

NMC Health is a global organisation, with a large presence in the United Arab Emirates. However, its UK operational footprint is significantly smaller with few hospital beds and employees.

As UK administrators have a statutory objective to consider rescuing the company as a going concern, administrators can and do keep employees on to better facilitate a business rescue, as has happened with NMC’s UK operations. To support people through this crisis, the Government has announced temporary increases to Universal Credit and Local Housing Allowance and will make sure it protects, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes.

The circumstances leading up to NMC Health’s insolvency has triggered an investigation by the regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, so lessons can be learnt and appropriate action taken. However, it would not be appropriate for Government to comment on this ongoing investigation before its completion.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the EU Solidarity Fund has made any payments to member states in response to the covid-19 pandemic; and whether the Government has applied for assistance from that fund.

The Government’s priority is to save lives and we are working with a range of international partners, including the EU, to that end. We are supporting the EU’s efforts to tackle the outbreak and fulfilling our obligations through the Financial Settlement.

The EU have not yet budgeted payments from the Solidarity Fund to Member States in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Applications for funding through the fund are open until late June and the applications will be assessed after the deadline. Therefore, it is unlikely that payments will be made till the summer.

The Government is considering the EU’s new use of the EU Solidarity Fund, and our decision to participate in any cooperation efforts or schemes with the European Commission, and other European and international partners, will always be made on the basis of public health requirements at the time.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applies to those deemed to be employees in terms of tax under IR35.

The Government seeks, as far as possible, to protect people’s jobs and incomes. This is an unprecedented jobs retention scheme and the Government has been working hard to set out further details on the scheme. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to any individual who was on an employer’s PAYE payroll on 19 March 2020. Full details can be found in the guidance available at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme, which provides answers to these questions.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial assistance is available to mobile catering businesses affected by covid-19.

This is an incredibly challenging time for all types of businesses, both large and small. Therefore, the Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of measures to protect businesses and workers against the current economic emergency, including an initial £330 billion of loan guarantees. This is on top of compensation for statutory sick pay as announced in the Budget.

On Friday 20 March the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. Businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21888 on Buildings: Insulation, if he will waive the charging of VAT on the cost of repairs to buildings with unsafe (a) HPL and (b) other types of cladding.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT. While the UK is in a transition period, all existing EU VAT rules and regulations continue to apply, including the standard rate of VAT applied to the removal and replacement of cladding.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will waive the charging of VAT on the cost of repairs to buildings with unsafe cladding.

In 2019, the Government announced the creation of a new fund which would cover the full cost of remediating the unsafe ACM cladding systems on privately owned high rise residential buildings.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding was allocated to dementia care in the last financial year; and what plans he has to increase that funding.

Public expenditure on adult social care was £17.89bn in 2018/19. A further breakdown of this spending is published in the Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report. Additionally, NHS England and Improvement allocates funding to Clinical Commissioning Groups who distribute on clinical areas, including dementia care, according to local priorities. This funding is part of the £114.6bn NHS budget last year.

At the 2019 Spending Review, the Government announced an additional £1bn grant for social care in 2020-21, as well as giving the NHS a 3.1% real terms growth in their 20/21 budget which represents an extra £6.3bn.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to continue the existing scheme for small breweries' relief.

As announced at Budget 2018, the Treasury is reviewing the Small Brewers Relief (SBR) scheme. Further announcements about the review will be made in due course.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many cases of the replacement of unsafe cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire have not had VAT applied to the cost of the works.

The details that HM Revenue and Customs collect from taxpayers on their VAT returns are not specific enough to identify costs relating to cladding. The cost of replacing cladding would be zero rated if it was tied to the initial construction and shown to be defective.

On 9 May 2019, the Government announced that it would fully fund the removal and replacement of certain types of unsafe cladding on private sector residential buildings 18 metres or taller. Where a zero rate does not apply, the cost of the VAT charge would be covered by that fund.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is holding discussions with the EU Commission on a replacement agreement for the Dublin Regulation.

The UK is in discussions regarding the returns of asylum seekers to European Member States; it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on these negotiations.

We can confirm that work is underway to secure appropriate return agreements with safe countries. Returns may also be agreed with partner countries on a case-by-case basis without formal agreements. This happened historically, outside of the former Dublin arrangements, and will continue to be part of the approach we apply.

Our inadmissibility provisions in the Immigration Rules give us the legal basis to declare an asylum claim as inadmissible where a person has a connection to or has passed through a safe country. The first returns on inadmissible grounds have been successfully carried out.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ask registrars to prioritise appointments for the parents of babies who were stillborn so that they can register both the birth and death of their baby at the same appointment, prior to organising a funeral.

Still-birth registration appointments are prioritised alongside death registrations. Provisions within the Coronavirus Act 2020 allow these events to be registered by telephone at present.

Only one registration appointment is required, with details solely recorded in the still-birth register.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average waiting time is for parents of children who were stillborn to register the death of their baby in England; and if she will make a statement.

Delivery of registration services falls to local authorities who monitor demand and manage requests within their respective geographical areas.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when registrars will return to arrangements where the parents of stillborn babies could register both the death and the birth of their child in one appointment.

The arrangements have not changed. Still-births continue to be registered as a single entry in the still-birth register and are not recorded in the birth and death registers.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that people with a connection to the UK because of their work with UK universities on issues such as gender, which put them at particular risk of Taliban reprisals, are being helped as part of the ARAP scheme.

Details of the criteria for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) can be found in the Afghanistan Resettlement and Immigration policy statement. The ARAP was established to support those who worked for and alongside the UK Government in Afghanistan; it does not generally include those who worked with UK universities.

In addition to ARAP, the Government has announced the new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which will welcome 5,000 people at risk in the first year, and up to 20,000 in the coming years.

Further details of the Government’s approach can be found in the policy statement published on 13 September: Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to suspend the requirement for spouses from Afghanistan to pass the English language test in order to be able to enter the UK.

The Government believes those seeking to enter and make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

There are no current plans to suspend the requirement for spouses specifically from Afghanistan to pass an English language test to enter the UK.

However, under the current Rules an applicant can already be exempted from the English language requirement to enter the UK if a decision maker considers there are exceptional circumstances preventing the applicant from meeting the requirement.

The applicant must demonstrate, as a result of exceptional circumstances, they are unable to learn English before coming to the UK or it is not practicable or reasonable for them to travel to another country to take an approved English language test.

Each application for an exemption on the basis of exceptional circumstances will be considered on its merits on a case-by-case basis.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the current average processing time is for EU family permit applications.

The published service standards for EEA and EUSS family permits can be found at Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). which states;

If you are applying for an EEA family permit or an EUSS family permit you will get a decision as soon as possible after proving your identity and provided your documents.

Therefore, there are no time-bound service standard attached to these routes

Our aim is to process all applications for an EUSS Family Permit as soon as possible.

The Home Office publishes data on entry clearance visas in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on EEA Family Permit and EU Settlement Scheme family permit applications and outcomes are published in table Vis_D01 and Vis_D02 of the entry clearance visa detailed datasets. Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether a British citizen seeking to bring a fiancé to the UK is required to provide proof that the couple have previously met in person.

A British citizen who wishes to sponsor their foreign national fiancé or proposed civil partner to enter the UK and reside here permanently under the family Immigration Rules must provide evidence to confirm the couple have met in person.

Further guidance on the fiancé or proposed civil partner visa can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fiancees-set01/fiancees-set01#set114-what-to-do-after-an-initial-refusal-on-the-grounds-of-not-having-met

A British citizen who does not wish to reside permanently in the UK with their fiancé can apply for them to enter as a visitor to conduct their wedding. There are no specific provisions under the visitor Rules for the couple to have met in person prior to their application. However, the couple will be expected to prove their relationship is genuine, which having not met in person may call into doubt, however each case is considered based on its individual circumstances.

Further information on the marriage visitor Rules can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government is currently deporting people to Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement.

Enforced returns to Afghanistan, including deportations, have been paused.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department plans to take to identify people in Afghanistan who may be eligible for settlement in the UK under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement and Scheme.

Through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) the UK will relocate up to 20,000 people at risk, including women and girls and minority groups, so they can rebuild their lives in safety.

Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out in the policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September, available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what advice her Department is providing to people in Afghanistan on how they should apply for family reunion or spouse visas.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward for evacuation as part of Op PITTING, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The British Embassy in Kabul has currently suspended in country operations and all UK diplomatic and consular staff have been temporarily withdrawn.

The UK is working with international partners to secure safe routes out of Afghanistan as soon as they become available, but while the security situation remains extremely volatile, we recommend people in Afghanistan do not make applications and pay application fees at this time as they will not be considered until biometrics are provided. Those Afghans who are outside of Afghanistan and able to get to a Visa Application Centre to provide their biometrics can make an application in the usual way.

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether applicants who want to update their biometric residence card to reflect their EU Settled Status have to pay a fee for (a) the application and (b) biometrics in respect of their application.

Applicants who want to update their biometric residence card (BRC) to reflect their EU Settled Status are not required to pay a fee for either (a) the application or (b) biometrics in respect of their application.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her departmental official's reply of 9 April 2021 to the Right hon. Member for Leeds Central regarding his constituent Ms C ​and her settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, for what reason further emails by the Right hon. Member of 12 April 2021, 7 June 2021 and 21 July 2021 have not had a response.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the Rt Hon. Member’s correspondence. A response was sent on 16 September.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reasons publicly-funded schools are not part of the Home Office list of institutions licensed to sponsor migrants under the Student route of the points-based system while exceptions are available for independent schools; and if she will review this policy.

State-funded schools are funded by UK taxpayers for the purpose of educating individuals with a statutory right to education in the UK.

The Government considers it right those children who are entitled to live in the UK (and whose families are entitled to work, access services and benefits and pay tax in the UK) are the children who should be educated by state-funded schools.

It would therefore not be appropriate for these schools to hold a student sponsor licence to sponsor international students, as the cost of the education provided to such students recruited from overseas would fall on the UK taxpayer.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many buildings have waking watches in the UK.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the FSO), the Responsible Person for each particular building is required to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place within their building, as informed by a fire risk assessment.

The Government and the NFCC make available guidance to support those responsible in complying with the FSO and ensuring their premises remain safe for continued use. The NFCC has recently revised its Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance which reflects best practice and can be located at https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance.

This guidance encourages greater use of more cost-effective measures such as alarm systems to replace or reduce dependency on waking watch wherever possible.

Local fire and rescue authorities and other enforcers of the FSO can take action where the fire safety measures fall short of compliance.

Government does not collect data on the number of buildings where waking watch forms part of a building's fire safety strategy.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the date on which waking watches will no longer be required with the exception of those considered essential.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the FSO), the Responsible Person for each particular building is required to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place within their building, as informed by a fire risk assessment.

The Government and the NFCC make available guidance to support those responsible in complying with the FSO and ensuring their premises remain safe for continued use. The NFCC has recently revised its Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance which reflects best practice and can be located at https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance.

This guidance encourages greater use of more cost-effective measures such as alarm systems to replace or reduce dependency on waking watch wherever possible.

Local fire and rescue authorities and other enforcers of the FSO can take action where the fire safety measures fall short of compliance.

Government does not collect data on the number of buildings where waking watch forms part of a building's fire safety strategy.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government's oral contribution of 21 July 2021 in response to the question from the hon. Member for Leeds Central, if she will publish the exceptional circumstances in which waking watches will still be needed in future.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the FSO), the Responsible Person for each particular building is required to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place within their building, as informed by a fire risk assessment.

The Government and the NFCC make available guidance to support those responsible in complying with the FSO and ensuring their premises remain safe for continued use. The NFCC has recently revised its Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance which reflects best practice and can be located at https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance.

This guidance encourages greater use of more cost-effective measures such as alarm systems to replace or reduce dependency on waking watch wherever possible.

Local fire and rescue authorities and other enforcers of the FSO can take action where the fire safety measures fall short of compliance.

Government does not collect data on the number of buildings where waking watch forms part of a building's fire safety strategy.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many visas have been granted to overseas researchers under the Global Talent Visa in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021 to date, broken down by nationality.

Information on visas granted under the Global Talent scheme is routinely published as part of the quarterly Immigration statistics.

The current data is available and can be found via the link below on tab Vis_D02.

entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-mar-2021.xlsx

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the requirement that EU visitors must have a passport rather than an ID card on the number of (a) EU tourists and (b) EU school parties coming to the UK.

EEA identity cards are among the least secure documents seen at the UK border and are, as a rule, not as secure as corresponding national passports. They continue to dominate detection figures for document abuse at the border.

The Government is committed to strengthening the security of our border, so will phase out the use of EU, other EEA and Swiss national identity cards as a valid travel document for entry to the UK from 1 October 2021.

We do not accept identity cards as a travel document from any other nationalities. We expect people who visit the UK from outside the EU (including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) to hold a passport and we will now expect those visiting from EU countries to do the same. Using a passport also means EU nationals making a short visit can also use e-gates where available for a quicker and easier arrival experience.

We have provided almost a year’s notice for this change to allow people to plan ahead and obtain a passport, if they need to, before they travel.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to provide a 12 month extension to the Frontier Worker Permit scheme to allow the UK glass industry to continue to have access to critical overseas technical glass workers for the rebuilding and maintenance of glass furnaces, pending a longer term solution on that matter.

The Citizens’ Rights Agreements protect those EEA or Swiss citizens who were frontier workers in the UK by the end of the transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020 and who continue to be so.

The UK’s frontier worker permit scheme, which has been open to applications since 10 December 2020, allows those protected frontier workers to obtain a permit, free of charge, as evidence of their right to continue entering the UK as a frontier worker after 30 June 2021.

There is no deadline by which protected frontier workers must apply for a permit, though it is mandatory for non-Irish frontier workers to hold a frontier worker permit to enter the UK for work from 1 July 2021.

Where an overseas worker is not protected by the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the new points-based immigration system provides routes for skilled workers and specialist services suppliers which can be utilised by industries such as the glass sector. Such work visas are typically issued within three weeks, making the UK system one of the fastest visa services in the world.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the availability of specialist refractory brick layers in the UK.

The job of a refractory engineer, under Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code 5312 (bricklayers and masons) on the eligible occupations list, meets the RQF3 skills threshold for the Skilled Worker route so it is eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa, subject to the other criteria under the Route being met.

There is no minimum length of sponsorship and those sponsored for less than 6 months do not need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge or the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Queries about the availability of labour in the UK Labour Market and recruitment issues for businesses should be directed to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK glass manufacturers are able to access specialist refractory brick layers from outside the UK after 1 July 2021 to work on short-term maintenance and furnace re-build projects.

The job of a refractory engineer, under Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code 5312 (bricklayers and masons) on the eligible occupations list, meets the RQF3 skills threshold for the Skilled Worker route so it is eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa, subject to the other criteria under the Route being met.

There is no minimum length of sponsorship and those sponsored for less than 6 months do not need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge or the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Queries about the availability of labour in the UK Labour Market and recruitment issues for businesses should be directed to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to introduce a fee waiver scheme for children born in the UK who are applying to register their British citizenship in response to the Court of Appeal judgment of 18 February 2021 in R on the application of Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens & O v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Home Office has acknowledged the Court of Appeal’s judgment and has committed to reviewing the child citizenship registration fee in line with its duties under Section 55.

A Supreme Court hearing on Child Registration fees also took place on 23rd and 24th June. We await the final judgment and the ongoing section 55 review before publishing results.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been (a) arrested for possession of a machete and (b) injured or killed by a machete in England in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason it is legal to sell machetes; and if she will make a statement.

Keeping people safe is the Government’s top priority, including from violent crime involving the misuse of knives and other offensive weapons.

Under provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 it is unlawful to sell a machete to a person under the age of 18 and it is also an offence to have a machete in a public place without lawful authority or good reason.

Under the provisions of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 we are introducing further measures to address crime involving bladed items including stopping bladed items being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product would not be delivered into the hands of a person under 18.

The majority of machete owners use them for legitimate reasons such as gardening, camping or agricultural use. Where a machete is misused as a weapon, there are a range of offences that the offender may be charged with, such as causing grievous bodily harm. These can result in lengthy sentences, including life imprisonment in instances of murder.

We continue to keep the legislation on bladed articles and offensive weapons under review.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in what circumstances an EU citizen coming to the UK as an au pair requires a work permit.

Now free movement has ended, the UK’s immigration system does not distinguish between EEA and non-EEA nationals.

As has been the case since 2008, successive governments have decided the UK’s immigration system will not offer a dedicated visa route for au pairs.

Any person seeking employment as an au pair in the UK requires permission to do so via an appropriate visa route with general work rights.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the prevalence of people from covid-19 red list countries seeking to enter the UK via third countries; and if she will make a statement.

The United Kingdom has some of the most stringent border measures in the world including implementing a three-test regime and requiring all those travelling from Red or Amber List countries to self-isolate for 10 days. Travellers from Red List countries must quarantine in a designated Managed Quarantine Hotel.

Every essential check introduced – from testing to the Passenger Locator Form – is helping to reduce the risk of new coronavirus variants making it into the UK.

Border Force assesses routes used to travel into the UK. The vast majority of people identified as having travelled indirectly from a red list country are compliant with health measure requirements.

Border Force works with the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Transport to identify passengers who are attempting to circumvent the managed quarantine requirements and has successfully done so on previous occasions.

All arrivals into the UK are checked, both by carriers and Border Force, to ensure they are complying with requirements. Further checks are made after entry to make sure people are quarantining when required and further action may be taken by the Isolation Assurance and Compliance Service and the police. Breaches can incur fines of up to £10,000.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department collects figures on the number of people detained in short-term detention facilities run by (a) UK border force and (b) contractors at airports and ports.

The Home Office publishes statistics on people in detention on the last day of each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release(opens in a new tab)’. Data on people in detention under immigration powers, are published in Table Det_03a of the ‘Detention summary tables(opens in a new tab)’, which includes those detained in residential short term-holding facilities. Figures on people in detention at the end of March 2021 were published on 25 February 2021.

Border Force does not have a standalone short-term holding facility detention system. The only recording capability is via CID/Atlas. All cases are entered onto these systems when an individual has been issued with an IS91 Authority to Detain form.

Figures on the number of people detained in contractor operated short-term holding facilities at airports and ports are collated locally by the contractor. We do not hold a central record of these figures.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of making it mandatory for all new cars sold to be fitted with an electronic tracking device.

The Government is tackling vehicle crime as a priority. We continue to work closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime and overseen by the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce. This includes consideration of how we can reduce the number of vehicles being stolen.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether au pairs from the EU can enter the UK to help look after a friend or a relative's children unpaid, without a work permit.

EU nationals can enter the UK as visitors without needing to apply for a visa or a work permit in advance. They can do a range of activities but should not be intending to work in the UK or fill a UK-based role without status.

As set out in the Visit guidance, a family member may come to look after a child in the UK, provided it is for a short visit and does not amount to the relative being employed as a child-minder or au pair.

Decision makers need to be satisfied the visit is of a short duration, the relative is a genuine visitor and will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EU citizens are able to enter the UK for a job interview without already possessing a UK work permit.

A person may come to the UK under the visitor route for a job interview. However, if successful they must leave the UK and obtain an entry clearance under a route which grants the right to work in the UK before starting the role.

During the current global pandemic any travel to the UK must also be in accordance with the prevailing health regulations at the time of travel.

Irish Citizens do not need to seek entry clearance in order to seek or start work in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, under what powers immigration removal centre staff are able to remove mobile telephones from persons detained for being in the UK without a work visa; and whether she plans to review that policy.

The rights of all detained individuals are protected by the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (DCR), published Operating Standards for immigration removal centres (IRCs) and individuals under escort and Detention Services Orders (DSO). This framework includes specific guidance on the Home Office’s policy on the possession of mobile phones in immigration removal centres, as set out in DSO 05/2018 ‘Mobile phones, internet enabled devices, and cameras’

Detained individuals are able to retain their own mobile telephones throughout their detention, provided their handset has no recording facility and/or access to the internet. Where a detained person’s handset does not comply with these restrictions, they are provided with a suitable handset by the IRC supplier so that they may maintain contact with friends, family and other means of support. Individuals are provided with £5 phone credit upon induction to an IRC and they can request additional phone credit to maintain contact with their legal advisors, friends and family up to a maximum of £10 per week.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EU citizens have been (a) detained and (b) deported since 1 January 2021 for being in the UK without a work visa.

Home Office publish transparency data figures, which can be accessed via published data in the link below.

Immigration Enforcement data: February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the correspondence between his Department and the hon. Member for Leeds Central on document GWF053988543, for what reason the documents (a) in respect of that constituency case have not been issued enabling the family member to join her family in the UK and (b) were not issued back in December 2019.

Our aim is to conclude applications for an European Economic Area (EEA) family permit or an EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) family permit as soon as possible after identity and supporting documents are submitted. More information can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk#if-you-want-to-join-family-in-the-uk

Application GWF053988543 was delayed due to a technical error in printing and the subsequent automatic purge of the applicant’s biometric data. This has been prioritised for a print request and dispatch within the next 24 hours.

The Visa Application Centre will be in contact with the applicant to arrange collection once they have taken receipt of the document.

The Home Office would like to offer sincere apologies to your constituent’s daughter for the delay in receiving their EEA family permit.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of immigration casework queries from hon. Members are not responded to within the 20 working day service standard; and if she will make a statement.

The Department works to a target of responding to 95% of MPs written correspondence within 20 working days. Performance has been impacted by a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence received, alongside the need for Ministers and officials to instigate a remote process for drafting and signing correspondence during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest published data on UKVI performance against the service standard includes data up to and including the end of quarter 3-2020/21 and is held at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-service-operations-data-november-2020

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to extend the validity of leave to remain visas issued to persons overseas in red list countries who are unable to exercise their right to enter the UK on such a visa as a result of they, and any family members, not being able to afford the hotel isolation fee; and if she will make a statement.

If an individual overseas in a red list country has UK residence rights and is concerned about their ability to pay for their managed quarantine facility costs, they may be eligible to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking.

We have set out how to apply for this, in particular for individuals who receive income related benefits. They will be required to pay back their debt to the government in 12 monthly instalments. Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england#what-you-need-to-do-before-you-arrive-in-england

If an individual overseas with UK residence rights chooses not to travel to the UK within the validity of their visa, they will need to make an application for a replacement visa or a new visa in an appropriate route. Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents#outside-uk

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is her policy to enable Commonwealth veterans who have served in the UK's armed forces to settle in the UK.

This Government hugely values every member of our outstanding Armed Forces and we are humbled when non-UK nationals choose to serve our country.

It is for these reasons we explicitly provide for all non-UK veterans discharged from HM Forces to obtain settlement in the UK having served for four years or more or having been discharged for medical reasons due to their service via the online form SET(AF):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-settle-in-uk-as-former-member-of-hm-forces-setaf

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government has taken to communicate to (a) international airlines and (b) international border authorities that the EU Settlement Scheme operates without physical documentation.

In preparation for delivery of the UK’s future border immigration systems regular stakeholder engagement meetings were held with representatives from the maritime, rail and air carrier organisations to consult on the likely shape of new border processes as well as the impact for them of the UK’s exit from the EU. Carriers are also engaged at a more local level with Border Force teams based at ports.

An all carrier alert was issued immediately prior to the end of transition through established channels and since January 1st Carriers have made use of the direct access they have in the UK and overseas to Home Office officials should they require specific advice on individual passengers.

In addition, the Home Office’s overseas liaison network provide support to international border authorities should it be required.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the number of EEA citizens with Settled Status and Pre Settled Status who have been refused boarding to an international flight to the UK, because they were unable to provide evidence of residency in the UK, since 1 January 2021.

We do not hold data for commercial carriers’ reasons for refusing boarding to passengers and therefore cannot provide this information.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what written guidance the Government has issued to international (a) airlines and (b) border authorities on how the EU Settlement Scheme operates without physical documentation.

An alert was issued to all carriers responsible for international flights through established channels stating they do not need to request evidence of settled or pre-settled status for eligibility for carriage to the UK.

Internal guidance was also issued to the Home Office’s International Liaison Officer network based in the UK and overseas so they can advise carriers correctly should a carrier or local boarder authority overseas refer such a case.

Operational guidance for managing EEA nationals with Settled and Pre-settled status has been issued to Border Force officers

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of applications for British citizenship were concluded within (a) three months, (b) six months, (c) nine months and (d) more than 12 months of those applications being received by her Department in the last 12 months for which information is available.

The Home Office is committed to routinely publishing data as part of the transparency data in the Immigration Statistics quarterly release. The latest data can be found on Gov.uk at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-november-2020

The available data includes performance against the six-month service standard and applications remaining unresolved, it does not break down the timescales for reaching a decision in any further detail.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance she has issued to (a) banks and (b) other lenders on ways for EU citizens to prove they hold (i) settled and (ii) pre-settled status.

EEA citizens can continue to use their national passport or identity card to evidence their status in the UK until the end of June 2021.

We are developing an extensive package of communications to ensure individuals, employers, landlords and other third parties, such as financial institutions, are fully aware of how and where those with settled or pre-settled status can use their online immigration status to prove their status, including when opening a bank account.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure people seeking asylum are protected from covid-19 in the even that they are evicted from accommodation provided by her Department.

We are committed to preventing the further spread of Covid-19. Cessations are taking place in a phased way and we will keep them under review to ensure that this does not place people at greater risk.

We will work closely with accommodation providers to make sure people are moved on safely and in line with public health guidance. We will consider local lockdowns and other factors as part of this process.

People who are awaiting a Covid test result should not be asked to leave their current dwelling until they receive a negative test result and are symptom free and that those self-isolating due to a positive test result should adhere to the full 14-day self-isolation period for close contacts.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to issue reminders to EU citizens who have been granted pre-settled status of the when they should apply to convert to settled status; and if she will make a statement.

UK Visas & Immigration are committed to sending out reminders to those people whose pre-settled status is due to expire and who have not yet applied for settled status. This is set out in paragraph 1.18 of the Statement of Intent published in June 2018

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/718237/EU_Settlement_Scheme_SOI_June_2018.pdf

As pre-settled status is valid for 5 years from the date of issue, the earliest any reminders will be sent out will be 2023.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the challenges of the points-based immigration system for (a) musicians and promoters from the EU and (b) for musicians from the UK as a result of the stated intention of reciprocity between the UK and EU countries.

Overseas musicians and performers make an important contribution to the UK's creative sector.

We have set out the Government’s plan to introduce a future points-based immigration system which will enable the most talented people from around the world to come to the UK in all parts of the economy, including the creative sector.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending the three month concession for non-visa nationals using the Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Creative or Sporting route to six months and (b) allowing the Tier 5 route for multiple entries to the UK.

Overseas musicians and performers make an important contribution to the UK's creative sector. We have set out plans to introduce a future points-based immigration system which will enable these creative workers to come to the UK to perform and take part in events.

There are a range of provisions for visiting artists, entertainers and musicians, each offering various lengths of leave suited to their individual needs.

The Immigration Rules for creative workers already make provisions for multiple entries to the United Kingdom.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will (a) extend the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route from 30 days to 90 days to allow for longer tours and opera seasons for musicians and (b) allow the PPE route for multiple entries to the UK.

There are no plans to extend the Permitted Paid Engagement route from 30 days to 90 days. The PPE visit visa already allows, whilst valid, multiple entries to the UK

Currently, visiting artists, entertainers and musicians can perform at events, take part in competitions and auditions, make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa. They can also receive payment for appearances at permit free festivals for up to 6 months, or for up to one month for specific engagements, under the Visitor route.

Artists wishing to come to the UK for longer-term work will need to do so under the points-based system. There will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which in future will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps UK Visas and Immigration is taking to reduce the time it takes to assess and issue a visa to foreign nationals seeking to work in the UK at short notice; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a short-term visa for last-minute employment.

We continually review our global visa operation to improve performance and ensure value for money while maintaining excellent customer service.

The Home Office's priority is to maintain a safe and secure border. Visas are only issued where an applicant meets the requirements of the UK's Immigration Rules and entry clearance applications are subject to an extensive range of mandatory and discretionary checks (including an applicant’s previous immigration history).

In normal circumstances we can offer priority and super priority services, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk); however, these were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some UK Visa Application Centres are reopening where local restrictions allow and where it is safe to do so, but ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services – including priority and super priority services – remain closed. This is under regular review, and we will resume normal services as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Home Office set out proposals for the UK’s future Points-Based Immigration System in a Policy Statement published on 19 February: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-policy-statement. These proposals will transform the way in which all migrants come to the UK and will deliver a better customer experience.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will simplify the application process for visa applicants for the purposes of musical performances who have previously secured successful applications.

We continually review our global visa operation to improve performance and ensure value for money while maintaining excellent customer service.

The Home Office's priority is to maintain a safe and secure border. Visas are only issued where an applicant meets the requirements of the UK's Immigration Rules and entry clearance applications are subject to an extensive range of mandatory and discretionary checks (including an applicant’s previous immigration history).

In normal circumstances we can offer priority and super priority services, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk); however, these were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some UK Visa Application Centres are reopening where local restrictions allow and where it is safe to do so, but ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services – including priority and super priority services – remain closed. This is under regular review, and we will resume normal services as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Home Office set out proposals for the UK’s future Points-Based Immigration System in a Policy Statement published on 19 February: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-policy-statement. These proposals will transform the way in which all migrants come to the UK and will deliver a better customer experience.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for variance of the no recourse to public funds condition her Department received since the start of March 2020.

The information you have requested is not currently published by the department.

The department has written to the UKSA with regard to this matter. Please see the link below:

https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/correspondence/response-from-daniel-shaw-to-ed-humpherson-parliamentary-question-response/.

We are continuing to investigate whether the administrative data held by the department can provide any meaningful data in future and will provide an update in due course.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of applications to lift the no recourse to public funds condition from people with leave to remain have been successful since the start of March 2020.

The information you have requested is not assured to the standard required by ONS for publication and as it would be too costly to do so, we are unable to provide it.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to allow marriage ceremonies to take place with social distancing after the covid-19 lockdown.

Marriages and Civil Partnerships are not currently taking place. This position remains under review in line with any changes to Public Health guidelines.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Iraqi Kurds have had their passports confiscated on grounds of identity in each of the last five years; and how many of those Iraqi Kurds have since had their passports returned.

The data below relates to applications where Iraq was provided as the place of birth on the UK passport application. The figures relate to the year in which a passport was revoked, because it was determined that there was no entitlement to a passport. The reasons for this in individual cases would include concerns around the person’s identity.

2015

5

2016

1

2017

7

2018

41

2019

116

In 4 of these cases a subsequent passport has been issued in the same identity.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EU citizens will be required to provide evidence of settled status or pre-settled status by Border Force officials when entering the UK after the end of the transition period.

EU citizens will not be routinely asked to prove they have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme in order to re-enter the UK, but systems will be in place to allow border officials to make such checks where necessary.

Once the new points-based immigration system is fully introduced, Border Force will be able to identify those individuals granted status digitally without the need for the individual to provide evidence.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether (a) airline and (b) ferry operators will be required to ask EU citizens for evidence of (i) settled status and (ii) pre-settled status before they board flights and ferries to the UK after the end of the transition period.

Immediately after the end of free movement, carriers will not be required to ask EU citizens for evidence of EU Settlement Scheme status before they board flights and ferries to the UK.

As part our future plans for strengthening border security, there may be changes to the checks carriers are required to undertake to ensure their passengers have the appropriate permission to travel to the UK. This could include checks for EU Settlement Status. We will work with carriers to develop the detailed policy and system requirements, and ensure there is appropriate guidance in place before any such changes are made.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance the Government has issued to airline operators on the evidence EU citizens will be required to provide before boarding flights to the UK from (a) the EU and (b) other countries after the end of the transition period.

Immediately after the end of free movement, carriers will not be required to ask EU citizens for evidence of EU Settlement Scheme status before they board flights and ferries to the UK.

As part our future plans for strengthening border security, there may be changes to the checks carriers are required to undertake to ensure their passengers have the appropriate permission to travel to the UK. This could include checks for EU Settlement Status. We will work with carriers to develop the detailed policy and system requirements, and ensure there is appropriate guidance in place before any such changes are made.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance the Government has provided to ferry operators on the evidence EU citizens will need to provide before boarding a ferry to the UK after the end of the transition period.

Immediately after the end of free movement, carriers will not be required to ask EU citizens for evidence of EU Settlement Scheme status before they board flights and ferries to the UK.

As part our future plans for strengthening border security, there may be changes to the checks carriers are required to undertake to ensure their passengers have the appropriate permission to travel to the UK. This could include checks for EU Settlement Status. We will work with carriers to develop the detailed policy and system requirements, and ensure there is appropriate guidance in place before any such changes are made.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Home Department, whether guidance has been issued to the emergency services on the use of directional sirens on their vehicles.

The use of sirens by the police and other emergency services is controlled by Regulation 99 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

It is for the emergency services to consider how best to use their professional judgment to decide when and where the use of sirens is appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2021 to Question 41667 on Afghanistan: Immigration, and with reference to the email of 6 October 2021 from the Right Hon. Member for Leeds Central, if he will urgently review the application by S, the former interpreter for UK forces whose case was covered on BBC Newsnight on 2 August 2021 and 19 August 2021, under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme.

This application for relocation under the ARAP scheme is now subject to legal proceedings brought by the applicant against the MOD. These proceedings are ongoing, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to assist employees of the British Council who were offered an evacuation flight under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy who were not able to make it to the airport and are still in Afghanistan.

All British Council employees approved for the ARAP scheme have now left Afghanistan. The Government continues to press the Taliban to deliver on its commitment to allow foreign nationals and Afghans with valid travel documents to leave Afghanistan.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of allegations that drones from Pakistan have been used in the recent fighting in the Panjshir valley.

We continue to monitor the security situation in Afghanistan very carefully. The UK remains committed to working closely with partners in the region to promote stability and secure the best possible outcomes for Afghanistan and its people.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will urgently review the application by S, the former interpreter for UK forces whose case was covered on Newsnight on 2 August 2021 and 19 August 2021, under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme.

We cannot comment on individual cases without express written permission of the individual, however our commitment to Afghanistan, and those who supported our mission there, continues. The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme is not time limited, and the Government is working to facilitate the continued relocation of those who are eligible.

Since the launch of the ARAP in April 2021, we have relocated thousands of eligible Afghans and their families to the UK. During the 14 days of Operation PITTING, we broadened and accelerated the scheme as the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated, resulting in the largest UK military evacuation since the Second World War.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether serving UK armed forces personnel who have been vaccinated while on duty overseas are able to apply for a NHS Covid Pass for travel.

All UK Armed Forces personnel that have received a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-approved COVID-19 vaccine whilst overseas can access an NHS COVID Pass. This is obtained through the NHS web-based service (rather than the smartphone application).

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will provide details of all the buildings in (a) LS1, (b) LS2, (c) LS6, (d) LS7, (e) LS9, (f) LS10 and (g) LS11 postcode areas that have received funding from the Waking Watch Fund.

As at 6 September 2021, 12 applications covering 14 buildings have been approved for funding from the Waking Watch Relief Fund in the areas covered by the LS1, LS2, LS10, LS6, LS7 and LS9 postcodes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the total number of properties in the (a) LS1, (b) LS2, (c) LS10, (d) LS6, (e) LS7 and (f) LS9 postcodes that have (i) applied to the Building Safety Fund and (ii) been approved for funding.

As of 25 August, there have been 60 registrations to the Building Safety Fund in the areas covered by the LS1, LS2, LS10, LS6, LS7 and LS9 postcodes. Of which, 29 have been notified as eligible for funding and have either proceeded with or are starting a full costs application. One registration could cover multiple buildings managed by the same agent or owned by the same building owner.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will list the properties in the (a) LS1, (b) LS2, (c) LS10, (d) LS6, (e) LS7 and (f) LS9 postcodes that have (i) applied to the building safety fund and (ii) been approved for funding.

We are unable to publish a list naming individual buildings that have applied to the Building Safety Fund. This reflects the position of the Government not to reveal the identity of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding systems on public safety grounds.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund. Application progress is communicated to registrants who we expect will ensure that their residents are kept fully informed. The latest Building Safety Fund statistics are available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merit of installing sprinklers in buildings with (a) cladding and (b) other fire safety problems, including whether this would enable the removal of waking watches.

A detailed building specific assessment of the level of risk is required to ascertain the most appropriate mitigation measures. The installation of a sprinkler system may be a proportionate fire safety measure in some circumstances. The Government supports the proportionate assessment of the level of risk in buildings.

We have been clear that it is the responsibility of buildings owners to ensure that they have a fire risk assessment in place and adopt proportionate mitigation measures where necessary.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent estimate he has made of the total number of buildings in England with (a) cladding and (b) other fire safety problems that have not yet been fully remediated.

Information on the remediation progress of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding can be found in the monthly data release here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data.

For high-rise residential buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding, the Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund at pace so more remedial works can begin as swiftly as possible. We expect applicants to the Building Safety Fund to start works on site by 30 September 2021 where possible. Information on registrations to the Building Safety Fund can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

We have begun a pilot data collection project for 11-18m residential buildings to identify materials in use and to inform the design of a wider national 11-18m data collection exercise. We will publish further details shortly.

The Building Safety Bill will bring about a fundamental change in both the regulatory framework for building safety and construction industry culture, ensuring those responsible for buildings ensure fire and structural safety risks are properly managed.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether blocks with unsafe cladding incorporating zinc panels are eligible for funding from the Building Safety Fund.

The eligibility criteria of external wall systems for the Building Safety Fund are set out in Annex A - Technical Information to the Building Safety Fund Prospectus which is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887231/Annex_A_-_technical_information.pdf.

If a zinc panel is part of an external wall system that meets the criteria in Annex A then, subject to the building meeting the other Building Safety Fund criteria such as height, it could be eligible for funding.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the deadline for applications to the Building Safety Fund beyond the end of June 2021.

The timelines for the Building Safety Fund were intended to incentivise building owners to speed up plans to identify and remediate unsafe buildings. The deadlines for the Fund have been set based on what we know about registrants and their readiness to be able to deliver projects. We recognise, however, that meeting these deadlines may not be possible in all circumstances, for instance where applicants find that they do not have sufficient time to complete a robust and satisfactory procurement process in order to meet the 30 June deadline to submit full applications for grant funding. More time may be permitted on a case by case basis, providing applicants continue to keep delivery partners fully informed and provide them with realistic timetables.

The announcement on 10 February of an additional £3.5 billion of funding means that leaseholders and residents in eligible buildings can be reassured that unsafe non-ACM cladding on their blocks will be replaced. All registrants should continue to ensure that everything is done to maximise the pace of remediation and to continue to make progress with their applications to the Building Safety Fund to ensure that remedial works are carried out as soon as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has had discussions with representatives of mortgage lenders on how leaseholders in flats with dangerous cladding who cannot get an EWS1 certificate may be able to remain on a low mortgage rate rather than have to default to a higher standard variable rate when their current mortgage deal expires.

The EWS1 is not a government form nor a legal requirement. It was created by industry to help with mortgage valuations for flats in blocks with cladding.

Lenders have confirmed that existing mortgage customers will be given the same access to commercial mortgage rates as new customers, but will not be asked to produce an EWS1 for their flat unless they are asking to borrow more or otherwise change the terms of their mortgage.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason, following the acknowledgement by the Building Safety Fund of its appeal in respect of Clarence House, Leeds Dock on 27 January 2021, the managing agents, LIV, have had no further contact about that appeal despite the 15 working day timetable for a response.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to advance applications and appeals for the Building Safety Fund. Any registrants wishing to check their appeal progress can contact the Appeals team through the email address used to submit their appeal.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of residential buildings in England with unsafe cladding which are unable to get insurance, what steps he is taking to ensure that cover is provided to those buildings; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not currently held in a data set by the Department.

The Department is aware that obtaining building insurance for some multi storey, multi occupied buildings can be challenging and are working to better understand the scale, scope and drivers of the issue as well as any potential resolutions.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Building Safety Fund will cover the cost of remediating missing fire cavity barriers (a) wherever on the building they are found or (b) only where they are directly connected to the removal of unsafe cladding; and if he will make a statement.

Detailed information on works eligible for funding can be found in the Building Safety Fund prospectus, available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund Eligible works covered by funding includes works directly related to the remediation of the unsafe cladding system. This can include fire cavity barriers, where integral to the replacement of the cladding system.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library a copy of the video of the fire test commissioned by the Victorian Building Authority in Australia through a National Association of Testing Authorities accredited laboratory on a rendered external wall system in June 2020 to test the fire spread performance of EPS (with fire retardant) in Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems (EIFS) on Class 2-9 buildings of Type A or Type B construction.

We do not have a copy of the video for the fire test commissioned by the Victorian Building Authority in Australia on a rendered external wall system in June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160534 on Building Safety Fund, whether there is a deadline for submission of appeals against a refusal of applications to the Building Safety Fund.

An appeal process is open for responsible entities which have applied for the Building Safety Fund if they can demonstrate that the building meets the published definitions of eligibility. The deadline for bringing an appeal is four weeks, taken on a case-by-case basis.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether, in respect of buildings with unsafe cladding, he has inserted a contract clause to say that leaseholders cannot claim assistance for cladding repairs from the Building Safety Fund unless they can prove that they have sufficient funding to complete all necessary fire safety works; and if he will make a statement.

The Building Safety Fund will cover all safety works directly related to the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems. However, we must ensure that the remediation of the unsafe cladding systems is not delayed by any funding shortfalls for any additional works the applicant may want to take forward at the same time that are not eligible for funding.

There is no requirement within the contract for applicants to perform other fire safety works at the same time as cladding works, and if the applicant chooses to perform other works as separate projects, this will not affect the payment of funding for cladding remediation.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason the managing agent of Clarence House, Leeds has not yet been informed of the outcome of the full review of the evidence supplied in connection with their appeal against refusal of Building Safety Fund support given the 15 working day deadline for that response.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to advance applications and appeals for the Building Safety Fund. Any registrants wishing to check their appeal progress can contact the Appeals team through the email address used to submit their appeal.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will call in planning application number 20/02559/FU by Leeds Bradford Airport for the construction of a new terminal building and associated modifications.

If Leeds City Council are minded to approve the application, the application will be referred to the Secretary of State under the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009, due to its scale and green belt location.

Once the referral has been received by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Direction provides that the local planning authority shall not grant permission until the expiry of 21 days, unless the Secretary of State has notified within that time that he does not intend to call-in the application.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether an application to the Building Safety Fund that has been rejected can be re-submitted in the event of new information on fire risks.

An appeal process is open for responsible entities which have applied for the Building Safety Fund if they can demonstrate that the building meets the published definitions of eligibility.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the deadline would be for a revised application to the Building Safety Fund in cases where an application to that Fund had been rejected but new information on fire safety risk has since come to light.

An appeal process is open for responsible entities which have applied for the Building Safety Fund if they can demonstrate that the building meets the published definitions of eligibility. The deadline for bringing an appeal is four weeks, taken on a case-by-case basis.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason the Building Safety Fund is declining to fund the replacement of the main access timber walkways at Cypress Point, Leylands Road in Leeds.

The Building Safety Fund prospectus sets out eligibility criteria as well as what costs